Section: Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry

Bilateral Contracts with Industry


Within the framework of the joint lab Inria-ALU, Grace and Alcatel-Lucent collaborate on the topic of Private Information Retrieval: that is, enabling a user to retrieve data from a remote database while revealing neither the query nor the retrieved data. (This is not the same as data confidentiality, which refers to the need for users to ensure secrecy of their data; this is classically obtained through encryption, which prevents access to data in the clear.)

A typical application would be a centralized database of medical records, which can be accessed by doctors, nurses, and so on. A desirable privacy goal would be that the central system does not know which patient is queried for when a query is made, and this goal is precisely achieved by a Private Information Retrieval protocol. Note also that in this scenario the database is not encrypted, since many users are allowed to access it.

We are exploring applications of Locally Decodable Codes to Private Information Retrieval in the multi-cloud (multi-host) setting, to ensure both secure, reliable storage, and privacy of database queries.

We hired Man-Cuong Ngo as a PhD student, in February 2014. We proposed a much better way of using LDC codes in PIR protocols, allowing less storage and a very small number of servers. This idea was at the heart of a European patent (EP14305549.9), co-submitted by Inria and Alcatel-Lucent. A preliminary presentation was made at CANS [19] .