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“I am Spartacus”: privacy enhancing technologies, collaborative obfuscation and privacy as a public good

Kwecka, Zbigniew; Buchanan, William J; Schafer, Burkhard; Rauhofer, Judith


Zbigniew Kwecka

Burkhard Schafer

Judith Rauhofer


The paper introduces an approach to privacy enhancing technologies that sees privacy not merely as an individual right, but as a public good. This understanding of privacy has recently gained ground in the debate on appropriate legal protection for privacy in an online environment. The jurisprudential idea that privacy is a public good and prerequisite for a functioning democracy also entails that its protection should not be left exclusively to the individual whose privacy is infringed. This idea finds its correspondence in our approach to privacy protection through obfuscation, where everybody in a group takes a small privacy risk to protect the anonymity of fellow group members. We show how these ideas can be computationally realised in an Investigative Data Acquisition Platform (IDAP). IDAP is an efficient symmetric Private Information Retrieval (PIR) protocol optimised for the specific purpose of facilitating public authorities’ enquiries for evidence.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Feb 6, 2014
Publication Date 2014-06
Deposit Date Nov 5, 2013
Publicly Available Date Feb 6, 2014
Journal Artificial Intelligence and Law
Print ISSN 0924-8463
Electronic ISSN 1572-8382
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 2
Pages 113-139
Keywords Privacy enhancing technologies; Investigative Data Acquisition Platform (IDAP); Private Information Retrieval (PIR);
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Nov 5, 2013


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