Cryptology ePrint Archive: Report 2021/107

A Decentralized and Encrypted National Gun Registry

Seny Kamara and Tarik Moataz and Andrew Park and Lucy Qin

Abstract: Gun violence results in a significant number of deaths in the United States. Starting in the 1960ís, the US Congress passed a series of gun control laws to regulate the sale and use of firearms. One of the most important but politically fraught gun control measures is a national gun registry. A US Senate office is currently drafting legislation that proposes the creation of a voluntary national gun registration system. At a high level, the bill envisions a decentralized system where local county officials would control and manage the registration data of their constituents. These local databases could then be queried by other officials and law enforcement to trace guns. Due to the sensitive nature of this data, however, these databases should guarantee the confidentiality of the data.

In this work, we translate the high-level vision of the proposed legislation into technical requirements and design a cryptographic protocol that meets them. Roughly speaking, the protocol can be viewed as a decentralized system of locally-managed end-to-end encrypted databases. Our design relies on various cryptographic building blocks including structured encryption, secure multi-party computation and secret sharing. We propose a formal security definition and prove that our design meets it. We implemented our protocol and evaluated its performance empirically at the scale it would have to run if it were deployed in the United States. Our results show that a decentralized and end-to-end encrypted national gun registry is not only possible in theory but feasible in practice.

Category / Keywords: applications / public policy, searchable encryption,secure multi-party computation, secure two-party computation, structured encryption

Original Publication (with minor differences): IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy 2021

Date: received 28 Jan 2021, last revised 29 Jan 2021

Contact author: lucyq at brown edu

Available format(s): PDF | BibTeX Citation

Note: This version of the publication includes a full proof of security, which is omitted in the conference publication.

Version: 20210201:072105 (All versions of this report)

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