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Paper 2021/1195

Do you feel a chill? Using PIR against chilling effects for censorship-resistant publishing

Miti Mazmudar, Stan Gurtler, and Ian Goldberg


Peer-to-peer distributed hash tables (DHTs) rely on volunteers to contribute their computational resources, such as disk space and bandwidth. In order to incentivize these node operators of privacy-preserving DHTs, it is important to prevent exposing them to the data that is stored on the DHT and/or queried for. Vasserman et al.'s CROPS aimed at providing plausible deniability to server nodes by encrypting stored content. However, node operators are still exposed to the contents of queries. We provide an architecture that uses information-theoretic private information retrieval to efficiently render a server node incapable of determining what content was retrieved in a given request by a user. We illustrate an integration of our architecture with the aforementioned system. Finally, we simulate our system and show that it has a small communication and performance overhead over other systems without this privacy guarantee, and smaller overheads with respect to the closest related work.

Note: This is an extended version of our paper that appeared in the 20th ACM Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society (WPES ’21).

Available format(s)
Publication info
Published elsewhere. Major revision. WPES 2021
Censorship-resistant publishingquery privacyprivate information retrieval
Contact author(s)
miti mazmudar @ uwaterloo ca
tmgurtler @ uwaterloo ca
iang @ uwaterloo ca
2021-09-17: received
Short URL
Creative Commons Attribution


      author = {Miti Mazmudar and Stan Gurtler and Ian Goldberg},
      title = {Do you feel a chill? Using PIR against chilling effects for censorship-resistant publishing},
      howpublished = {Cryptology ePrint Archive, Paper 2021/1195},
      year = {2021},
      doi = {10.1145/3463676.3485612},
      note = {\url{https://eprint.iacr.org/2021/1195}},
      url = {https://eprint.iacr.org/2021/1195}
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