Infoscience

Conference paper

Dissent: Accountable Group Anonymity

Users often wish to participate in online groups anonymously, but misbehaving users may abuse this anonymity to disrupt the group. Messaging protocols such as Mix-nets and DC-nets leave online groups vulnerable to denial-of-service and Sybil attacks, while accountable voting protocols are unusable or inefficient for general anonymous messaging. We present the first general messaging protocol that offers provable anonymity with accountability for moderate-size groups, and efficiently handles unbalanced loads where few members have much data to transmit in a given round. The N group members first cooperatively shuffle an N x N matrix of pseudorandom seeds, then use these seeds in N "pre-planned" DC-nets protocol runs. Each DC-nets run transmits the variable-length bulk data comprising one member's message, using the minimum number of bits required for anonymity under our attack model. The protocol preserves message integrity and one-to-one correspondence between members and messages, makes denial-of-service attacks by members traceable to the culprit, and efficiently handles large and unbalanced message loads. A working prototype demonstrates the protocol's practicality for anonymous messaging in groups of 40+ member nodes.

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