Blind Turing-Machines: Arbitrary Private Computations from Group Homomorphic Encryption

Stefan Rass

Secure function evaluation (SFE) is the process of computing a function (or running an algorithm) on some data, while keeping the input, output and intermediate results hidden from the environment in which the function is evaluated. This can be done using fully homomorphic encryption, Yao's garbled circuits or secure multiparty computation. Applications are manifold, most prominently the outsourcing of computations to cloud service providers, where data is to be manipulated and processed in full confidentiality. Today, one of the most intensively studied solutions to SFE is fully homomorphic encryption (FHE). Ever since the first such systems have been discovered in 2009, and despite much progress, FHE still remains inefficient and difficult to implement practically. Similar concerns apply to garbled circuits and (generic) multiparty computation protocols. In this work, we introduce the concept of a blind Turing-machine, which uses simple homomorphic encryption (an extension of ElGamal encryption) to process ciphertexts in the way as standard Turing-machines do, thus achieving computability of any function in total privacy. Remarkably, this shows that fully homomorphic encryption is indeed an overly strong primitive to do SFE, as group homomorphic encryption with equality check is already sufficient. Moreover, the technique is easy to implement and perhaps opens the door to efficient private computations on nowadays computing machinery, requiring only simple changes to well-established computer architectures.

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