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Probabilistic and nondeterministic aspects of anonymity

Romain Beauxis 1, 2 Catuscia Palamidessi 1, 2
1 COMETE - Concurrency, Mobility and Transactions
Inria Saclay - Ile de France, LIX - Laboratoire d'informatique de l'École polytechnique [Palaiseau]
Abstract : The concept of anonymity comes into play in a wide range of situations, varying from voting and anonymous donations to postings on bulletin boards and sending emails. The protocols for ensuring anonymity often use random mechanisms which can be described probabilistically, while the agents' behavior may be totally unpredictable, irregular, and hence expressible only nondeterministically. Formal definitions of the concept of anonymity have been investigated in the past either in a totally nondeterministic framework, or in a purely probabilistic one. In this paper, we investigate a notion of anonymity which combines both probability and nondeterminism, and which is suitable for describing the most general situation in which the protocol and the users can have both probabilistic and nondeterministic behavior. We also investigate the properties of the definition for the particular cases of purely nondeterministic users and purely probabilistic users. We formulate the notions of anonymity in terms of probabilistic automata, and we describe protocols and users as processes in the probabilistic $\pi$-calculus, whose semantics is again based on probabilistic automata. Throughout the paper, we illustrate our ideas by using the example of the dining cryptographers.
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Submitted on : Monday, October 19, 2009 - 7:44:56 AM
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Romain Beauxis, Catuscia Palamidessi. Probabilistic and nondeterministic aspects of anonymity. Theoretical Computer Science, Elsevier, 2009, 410 (41), pp.4006--4025. ⟨10.1016/j.tcs.2009.06.008⟩. ⟨inria-00424855⟩

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