Description: Description: Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Description: Description:


Dissent Isn't Easy -- Towards Practical Group Anonymous Communication


David Wolinsky, Ph.D.
Yale University

Friday, February 7, 2014

11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Fuller Labs 320



Recent scandals across the globe have revealed efforts by many governments to undermine their citizens' privacy rights. Corporations and advertising companies also engage in efforts to collect as much information about us as possible. In the wrong hands, this collected data could result in identity theft or worse. Anonymous communication mitigates these concerns by removing the link between a series of actions and the actor. In other words, Alice can communicate with whomever she wants without them or anyone else knowing she was the source. The current status quo for anonymous communication systems, however, makes a trade-off for weak anonymity in favor of better usability. In this talk, I will discuss challenges facing anonymous communication and how I have solved them using a novel anonymous communication system called Dissent. Dissent offers a practical approach to provably anonymous communication scaling two order of magnitude more than earlier approaches.



David Wolinsky is a research scientist at Yale University. He joined Yale in the Summer of 2011 after obtaining a PhD at the University of Florida. His research efforts primarily focus on building practical and secure distributed systems. During his PhD, he built a free-to-join compute grid, Grid Appliance, that combined NSF funded and volunteer resources to produce a 1,000+ node system with 100,000s of compute hours. At Yale, he became the master of "Dissent," a novel group anonymous communication protocol that turned an interesting theoretical idea into a real practical system.

Host:  Professor Craig Wills

Refreshments will be served.