Project leader: Prof. Ronald Cramer, CWI (1 October 2005 till 1 September 2009)

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With the Practical Approaches to Secure Computation (PASC) project researchers want to ensure that fundamental security tools from the research world will actually be used in practice. The project specifically focuses on secure computation, which is concerned with scenarios where two or more parties must realise a common task but where the parties do not trust each other and so wish to withhold sensitive information from each other. Possible applications are in the areas of digital rights management (DRM), biometric authentication and secure data mining.

Project results

A protocol for ‘bit sharing’ was developed: a problem that permits several other important standard problems to be solved, such as the comparison of a common piece of data by two parties without revealing to each other that a party has that data. Applications include making electronic voting more secure and online auctions such as eBay. A method was also developed that allows public key infrastructure (PKI) systems to be simplified by using identities as a public key. This is interesting for the use of biometric data in passports: the information must remain secret while still allowing a comparison to be made to verify that the person is who he claims to be. Various fundamental contributions to secure computing were made that have strongly contributed to making it more efficient. It has also been demonstrated that practical public key encryption that satisfies the highest security requirement, namely CCA2 security, can be based on computational infeasibility of the factorisation of the RSA moduli.

Follow-up activities  
The results achieved within the PASC project proved to be highly influential. Dr Eike Kiltz, a postdoc in the PASC project for 4 years, became professor of mathematics in Bochum and won the prestigious Sofja Kovalevskaja prize from the Humboldt Foundation. At both CWI and Eindhoven University of Technology a lot of research is being done on various follow-up lines. Several follow-up proposals (NL, Europe) are also being prepared.

Universities and partners involved

  •     Eindhoven University of Technology
  •     Leiden University
  •     Equens
  •     Interpay
  •     Irdeto
  •     Philips
  •     PwC