The Power of Encounters

Date & Time: 29/01/2020, 3:00 pm - 4:15 pm
Venue: Faculty Hall, Indian Institute of Science

A secure encounter is an agreement by two anonymous devices to have met at a given time and place. An associated shared secret enables the devices to subsequently confirm their encounter and communicate securely. In this talk, I will sketch how this simple idea enables fascinating new forms of privacy-preserving, contextual, secure communication among personal and IoT devices, and enables users to produce selective evidence of their personhood and physical whereabouts. Encounters enable powerful forms of secure group communication among devices connected by chains of encounters, subject to spatial, temporal, and causality constraints.  Applications range from connecting event attendees and virtual guest books to disseminating targeted health risk warnings, soliciting information and witnesses related to an incident, and tracing missing persons, all while maintaining users’ privacy.  Encounters also enable selective proofs of device (co-)location at a given time and place.  Finally, encounters can provide evidence of a unique physical trajectory, which suggests a human user and promises a new defense to Sybil attacks.

Speaker Bio:
Peter Druschel is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) and Associate Chair of the Chemistry, Physics, and Technology Section of the Max Planck Society in
Germany. Previously, he was a Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas.  His research interests include distributed systems, mobile
systems, privacy and compliance.  He is the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the ACM SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award, a Microsoft Research Outstanding Collaborator Award, and the EuroSys Lifetime Achievement Award. Peter is a member of Academia Europaea and the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Scroll Up