[Busec] NISLAB meeting: A Framework for Distributed Anonymous Data Collection and Feedback, this Friday 10am, PHO 404/428

Timchenko, Maxim maxvt at bu.edu
Tue Apr 21 18:25:07 EDT 2015

Dear all,

This Friday at a NISLAB meeting I am going to present some ongoing
research that will form the basis of my masters thesis.

This might be of interest to BUsec members since the design considers
privacy and anonymity concerns, and I would be glad to hear of any
potential issues with the design as well as aspects of privacy or
security guarantees that need to be elaborated further.

In the feedback part of the design, there is potential for an extension
from a simple implementation into the field of PIR (private information
retrieval), which is fairly new to me. Any feedback related to that part
- related work, existing implementations - would be welcome.


    The current state of the industry's methods of collecting diagnostic
    and usage data requires a lot of trust in the entity receiving the
    data. Given numerous high profile privacy failures, many individuals
    and companies are understandably skeptical and therefore choose not
    to contribute any information. It is unfortunate since the data
    could be used for improving reliability, or getting stronger
    security, or for valuable research into patterns of usage.

    We thus propose and are in the process of implementing and
    evaluating a framework for non-realtime anonymous data collection,
    aggregation for analysis, and feedback. Departing from the usual
    ``trusted core'' approach, we aim to maintain the reporting agent's
    anonymity, even if the centralized part of the system is
    compromised. We design a peer-to-peer mix network tuned to carry
    data to a centralized repository while maintaining (i) source
    anonymity, (ii) privacy in transit, and (iii) the ability to provide
    feedback from central server to source.

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