October 2, 2023

Dec 23, 2022Ravie LakshmananEncryption / Privateness / Browser

Brave open-source web browser

The builders behind the Courageous open-source net browser have revealed a brand new privacy-preserving knowledge querying and retrieval system referred to as FrodoPIR.

The thought, the corporate said, is to make use of the know-how to construct out a variety of use circumstances akin to protected looking, scanning passwords towards breached databases, certificates revocation checks, and streaming, amongst others.

The scheme is named FrodoPIR as a result of “the shopper can carry out hidden queries to the server, simply as Frodo remained hidden from Sauron,” a reference to the characters from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

PIR, brief for private information retrieval, is a cryptographic protocol that permits customers (aka shoppers) to retrieve a bit of data from a database server with out revealing to its proprietor which factor was chosen.


In different phrases, the purpose is to have the ability to question a platform for info (say, cooking movies) with out letting the service supplier infer from a consumer’s search historical past to supply personalised suggestions or focused advertisements primarily based on the search standards.

A method that is achieved is through the use of an strategy referred to as homomorphic encryption, which permits computation to be carried out immediately on enciphered knowledge with out requiring entry to a personal key.

However a standard downside afflicting such strategies is that they’re “costly by way of both bandwidth, or within the period of time taken to course of every shopper question,” making them prohibitive for real-world deployments.

That is the place FrodoPIR steps in. It includes two phases, an offline preparatory step and a web-based step whereby the shopper transmits encrypted queries to the server.

The server subsequently opts to return a constructive or unfavorable worth relying on whether or not or not the question is discovered within the database with out studying what the consumer is definitely querying for.

“When it comes to efficiency for a database of 1 million KB components, FrodoPIR requires <1 second for responding to a shopper question, has a server response dimension blow-up issue of > 3.6x, and monetary prices are ~$1 for answering shopper queries,” Courageous said in a GitHub description of the venture.

Google Open Sources Two Privateness-Enhancing Applied sciences (PETs)

The event comes as Google said it is open-sourcing two privacy-enhancing applied sciences (PETs) as a part of its ongoing efforts to democratize entry to methods past Federated Learning and Differential Privacy.

This consists of a brand new machine studying software referred to as Magritte that is designed to blur objects like license plates current in movies, in addition to effectivity enhancements to its Totally Homomorphic Encryption (FHE) Transpiler.

The transpiler, aka source-to-source compiler or translator, is designed to run computation-based queries on encrypted info sans any entry to personally identifiable knowledge.

The PETs “will present the broader developer group (researchers, governments, nonprofits, companies and extra) new methods to deploy and improve privateness options in their very own work,” Google famous.

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