Protecting privacy by splitting trust


Henry Corrigan-Gibbs
PhD Candidate, Stanford University
Monday, April 8, 2019 @ 11:00am-12:00pm
Room 1242, CSE building



When the maker of my phone, smart-watch, or web browser collects data about how I use it, must I trust the manufacturer to protect that sensitive information from theft? When I use the cryptographic hardware module in my laptop, need I trust that it will keep my secrets safe? When I use a messaging app to chat with friends, must I trust the app vendor not to sell the details of my messaging activity for profit?

This talk will show that we can get the functionality we want from our systems without having to put blind faith in the correct behavior of the companies collecting our data, building our hardware, or designing our apps. The principle is to split our trust -- among organizations, or devices, or users. I will introduce new cryptographic techniques and systems-level optimizations that make it practical to split trust in a variety of settings. Then, I will present three built systems that employ these ideas, including one that now ships with the Firefox browser.

Henry Corrigan-Gibbs is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford, advised by Dan Boneh. His research interests are in computer security, applied cryptography, and online privacy. Henry and his collaborators have received the Best Young Researcher Paper Award at Eurocrypt 2018, the 2016 Caspar Bowden Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, and the 2015 IEEE Security and Privacy Distinguished Paper Award, and Henry's work has been cited by IETF and NIST.


Faculty Host: Deian Stefan