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December 14, 2003

Obfuscation Technique for Privacy Data

"Cash on the Table" Example

There is a $100 bill on the table. You know putting off it without the owner's agreement is a crime. But not everyone think so. Then the $100 bill is in vulnerable condition. Because the bill is valuable. Then you would like to take some step to protect it by:

- putting it in wallet
- putting it in ordinally looking bags
- putting it in picture frame
- putting it underneath of doormat
- putting it in steel safe
- putting it in your bank account

These are techniques of making the $100 bill "not looking valuable" and setting "access difficulties".

Then now imagine the $100 bill is your privacy data. How can you protect it?

- putting data some different label
- mapping to multiple label
- encryption of data
- multiple encryption wrapping
- mixing with unrelated data
- chopping up data
- distributing chopped data to separate storage
- random sort of data I/O query
- randomized data I/O timing
- obfuscating sender/destination address
- moving the data through encrypted path
- moving the data peer to peer
- making data redundant
- sending redundant data through multiple paths

Any more thoughts?


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How about just sticking it out in the open, when everyone's present to see it, and then declaring it's yours. If enough people are around, and if enough of those people are honest, there'll be no reason to steal itbecause (a) there's a great risk of being caught stealing, and (b) there's little incentive to steal it, even if everyone else is crooked: they'll all just get fifty cents from the whole lot.

This, of course, is the old (and I believe, flawed) total transparency argument. I guess it means throwing out the idea of privacy data altogether, which is a cultural issue more than a technological one, no?

yes, it is a cultural issue and that is why to cover it with technology measure. if the person try to get the data has cultural background of "first pick first own, not doing it is a loser, no concept of stealing is a crime" cultural background, transparency model doesn't work. I at least needed to expect there could be such culture in this world.

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