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Section: New Results

Type Abstraction for Relaxed Noninterference

Information-flow security typing statically prevents confidential information to leak to public channels. The fundamental information flow property, known as noninterference, states that a public observer cannot learn anything from private data. As attractive as it is from a theoretical viewpoint, noninterference is impractical: real systems need to intentionally declassify some information, selectively. Among the different information flow approaches to declassification, a particularly expressive approach was proposed by Li and Zdancewic, enforcing a notion of relaxed noninterference by allowing programmers to specify declassification policies that capture the intended manner in which public information can be computed from private data. The paper [15] shows how we can exploit the familiar notion of type abstraction to support expressive declassification policies in a simpler, yet more expressive manner. In particular, the type-based approach to declassification—which we develop in an object-oriented setting—addresses several issues and challenges with respect to prior work, including a simple notion of label ordering based on subtyping, support for recursive declassification policies, and a local, modular reasoning principle for relaxed noninterference. This work paves the way for integrating declassification policies in practical security-typed languages.