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[PhD Thesis] Guess My Vote: A Study of Opacity and Information Flow in Voting Systems

Lookup NU author(s): Thea Peacock


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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 ø is opaque if for every run in which ø 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 ø. The predicate ø 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. Prêt à Voter [36] is the main exemplar, and is compared to other schemes in the case study. I first analyse information flow in Prêt à 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 Prêt à 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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Peacock T

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title:

Year: 2006

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne

Notes: British Lending Library DSC stock location number: DXN102703