Paper 2021/1066

Taphonomical Security: (DNA) Information with Foreseeable Lifespan

Fatima-Ezzahra El Orche, Marcel Hollenstein, Sarah Houdaigoui, David Naccache, Daria Pchelina, Peter B. Roenne, Peter Y. A. Ryan, Julien Weibel, and Robert Weil


This paper introduces the concept of information with a foreseeable lifespan and explains who to achieve this primitive via a new method for encoding and storing information in DNA-RNA sequences. The storage process can be divided into three time-frames. Within the first (life), we can easily read out the stored data with high probability. The second time-frame (agony) is a parameter-dependent state of uncertainty; the data is not easily accessible, but still cannot be guaranteed to be inaccessible. During the third (death), the data can with high probability not be recovered without a large computational effort which can be controlled via a security parameter. The quality of such a system, in terms of a foreseeable lifespan, depends on the brevity of the agony time-frame, and we show how to optimise this. In the present paper, we analyse the use of synthetic DNA and RNA as a storage medium since it is a suitable information carrier and we can manipulate the RNA nucleotide degradation rate to help control the lifespan of the message embedded in the synthesized DNA/RNA molecules. Other media such as Bisphenol A thermal fax paper or unstable nonvolatile memory technologies can be used to implement the same principle but the decay models of each of those phenomena should be re-analysed and the formulae given in this paper adapted correspondingly.

Available format(s)
Publication info
Preprint. MINOR revision.
CryptographyInformation with foreseeable lifespanData StorageInformation theoryDNARNA.
Contact author(s)
fatimaezzahra elorche @ gmail com
2021-08-23: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Fatima-Ezzahra El Orche and Marcel Hollenstein and Sarah Houdaigoui and David Naccache and Daria Pchelina and Peter B.  Roenne and Peter Y. A.  Ryan and Julien Weibel and Robert Weil},
      title = {Taphonomical Security: (DNA) Information with Foreseeable Lifespan},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1066},
      year = {2021},
      note = {\url{}},
      url = {}
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