Provably-secure symmetric private information retrieval with quantum cryptography

Wen Yu Kon, Charles Ci Wen Lim

Private information retrieval (PIR) is a database query protocol that provides user privacy, in that the user can learn a particular entry of the database of his interest but his query would be hidden from the data centre. Symmetric private information retrieval (SPIR) takes PIR further by additionally offering database privacy, where the user cannot learn any additional entries of the database. Unconditionally secure SPIR solutions with multiple databases are known classically, but are unrealistic because they require long shared secret keys between the parties for secure communication and shared randomness in the protocol. Here, we propose using quantum key distribution (QKD) instead for a practical implementation, which can realise both the secure communication and shared randomness requirements. We prove that QKD maintains the security of the SPIR protocol and that it is also secure against any external eavesdropper. We also show how such a classical-quantum system could be implemented practically, using the example of a two-database SPIR protocol with keys generated by measurement device-independent QKD. Through key rate calculations, we show that such an implementation is feasible at the metropolitan level with current QKD technology.

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