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Protecting Sensitive Metadata So It Can't be Used for Surveillance


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Visual Image of a New Metadata-Protecting Scheme

In a new metadata-protecting scheme, users send encrypted messages to multiple chains of servers, with each chain mathematically guaranteed to have at least one hacker-free server. Each server decrypts and shuffles the messages in random order, before shooting them to the next server in line.

Credit: MIT News

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a scalable metadata-protection scheme to shield the information of millions of users of communications networks against possible state-level surveillance.

In the Crossroads (XRD) scheme, users send encrypted messages to multiple server chains, with each chain mathematically ensured to have at least one hacker-free server. Each server decrypts and randomly shuffles the messages before sending them to the next server down the line; the final server decrypts the last encryption layer and transmits the message to the target recipient.

XRD also uses aggregate hybrid shuffle, a type of cryptographic proof that guarantees servers are properly receiving and shuffling messages to identify malicious activity. MIT's Albert Kwon said, "We want to get to the point where we're sending metadata-protected messages in near-real-time."

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2020 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


 

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