Blindspot: indistinguishable anonymous communications

Joseph Gardiner, Shishir Nagaraja

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

Communication anonymity is a key requirement for individuals under targeted surveillance. Practical anonymous communications also require indistinguishability - an adversary should be unable to distinguish between anonymised and non-anonymised traffic for a given user. We propose Blindspot, a design for high-latency anonymous communications that offers indistinguishability and unobservability under a (qualified) global active adversary. Blindspot creates anonymous routes between sender-receiver pairs by subliminally encoding messages within the pre-existing communication behaviour of users within a social network. Specifically, the organic image sharing behaviour of users. Thus channel bandwidth depends on the intensity of image sharing behaviour of users along a route. A major challenge we successfully overcome is that routing must be accomplished in the face of significant restrictions - channel bandwidth is stochastic. We show that conventional social network routing strategies do not work. To solve this problem, we propose a novel routing algorithm. We evaluate Blindspot using a real-world dataset. We find that it delivers reasonable results for applications requiring low-volume unobservable communication.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIthaca, N.Y.
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2014

Keywords

  • communication anonymity
  • targeted survellance
  • anonymous communications

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