PIR with compressed queries and amortized computation

IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, S&P (Oakland) 2018 |

Private information retrieval (PIR) is a key building block in many privacy-preserving systems. Unfortunately, existing constructions remain very expensive. This paper introduces two techniques that make the computational variant of PIR (CPIR) more efficient in practice. The first technique targets a recent class of CPU-efficient CPIR protocols where the query sent by the client contains a number of ciphertexts proportional to the size of the database. We show how to compresses this query, achieving size reductions of up to 274X.

The second technique is a new data encoding called probabilistic batch codes (PBCs). We use PBCs to build a multi-query PIR scheme that allows the server to amortize its computational cost when processing a batch of requests from the same client. This technique achieves up to 40× speedup over processing queries one at a time, and is significantly more efficient than related encodings. We apply our techniques to the Pung private communication system, which relies on a custom multi-query CPIR protocol for its privacy guarantees. By porting our techniques to Pung, we find that we can simultaneously reduce network costs by 36× and increase throughput by 3X.

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July 9, 2018

SealPIR allows a client to download an element from a database stored by a server without revealing which element was downloaded. SealPIR was introduced in our paper. SealPIR is a (research) library and should not be used in production systems.

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