Achieving Practical Private Information Retrieval (Panel @ Securecomm 2006)

    On August 31, 2006, we got together at Securecomm and discussed Private Information Retrieval from a practical point of view. This webpage briefly summarizes our discussion and conclusions.

    News: You might want to check out this paper.

    Original blurb:

    In the 11th year since PIR was proposed, we look back at the multitude of research results in the area and ask the questions of its practicality. We propose to alternate practical and theoretical views in a debate about the usability of PIR in networked contexts on modern hardware. The panel will have 15 minutes of a per-panelist presentation, followed by 30 minutes of questions and debate with the public.


    Giovanni Di Crescenzo, Telcordia Technologies
    William Gasarch, Univ. of Maryland College Park
    Aggelos Kiayias, Univ. of Connecticut
    Radu Sion, Stony Brook University (panel chair)


    Intro to PIR
    On the Practicality of PIR (NDSS talk)
    PIR: Crypto Design Perspective
    Towards Practical (?) Information Retrieval


    Overall, while existing PIR protocols seem not suited for direct practical deployment, the panel and the audience felt optimistic about future developments, either in completely new protocols and/or deploying cryptographically secure hardware at the server side to aid in PIR processing. A promising result of this panel is a potentially efficient PIR protocol designed by Bill and his student, protocol that would only require modular addition at the server side. A security proof is in the works.

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