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Title: Guess my vote: a study of opacity and information flow in voting systems
Authors: Peacock, Thea
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: With an overall theme of information flow, this thesis has two main strands. In the first part of the thesis, I review existing information flow properties, highlighting a recent definition known as opacity [25]. Intuitively, a predicate cP is opaque if for every run in which cP is true, there exists an indistinguishable run in which it is false, where a run can be regarded as a sequence of events. Hence, the observer is never able to establish the truth of cPo The predicate cP can be defined according to requirements of the system, giving opacity a great deal of flexibility and versatility. Opacity is then studied in relation to several well-known definitions for information flow. As will be shown, several of these properties can be cast as variations of opacity, while others have a relationship by implication with the opacity property [139]. This demonstrates the flexibility of opacity, at the same time establishing its distinct character. In the second part of the thesis, I investigate information flow in voting systems. Pret a Voter [36] is the main exemplar, and is compared to other schemes in the case study. I first analyse information flow in Pret a Voter and the FOO scheme [59], concentrating on the core protocols. The aim is to investigate the security requirements of each scheme, and the extent to which they can be captured using opacity. I then discuss a systems-based analysis of Pret a Voter [163], which adapts and extends an earlier analysis of the Chaum [35] and Neff [131]' [132]' [133] schemes in [92]. Although this analysis has identified several potential vulnerabilities, it cannot be regarded as systematic, and a more rigorous approach may be necessary. It is possible that a combination of the information flow and systems- based analyses might be the answer. The analysis of coercion-resistance, which is performed on Pret a Voter and the FOO scheme, may exemplify this more systematic approach. Receipt-freeness usually means that the voter is unable to construct a proof of her vote. Coercion-resistance is a stronger property in that it accounts for the possibility of interaction between the coercer and the voter during protocol execution. It appears that the opacity property is ideally suited to expressing the requirements for coercion-resistance in each scheme. A formal definition of receipt-freeness cast as a variation of opacity is proposed [138], together with suggestions on how it might be reinforced to capture coercion-resistance. In total, the thesis demonstrates the remarkable flexibility of opacity, both in expressing differing security requirements and as a tool for security analysis. This work lays the groundwork for future enhancement of the opacity framework.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Computing Science

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