Private Set Intersection: Are Garbled Circuits Better than Custom Protocols?

Yan Huang, David Evans, and Jonathan Katz
19th Network and Distributed Security Symposium (NDSS 2012)
San Diego, CA
5-8 February 2012


Cryptographic protocols for Private Set Intersection (PSI) are the basis for many important privacy-preserving applications. Over the past few years, intensive research has been devoted to designing custom protocols for PSI based on homomorphic encryption and other public-key techniques, apparently due to the belief that solutions using generic approaches would be impractical. This paper explores the validity of that belief. We develop three classes of protocols targeted to different set sizes and domains, all based on Yao's generic garbled-circuit method. We then compare the performance of our protocols to the fastest custom PSI protocols in the literature. Our results show that a careful application of garbled circuits leads to solutions that can run on million-element sets on typical desktops, and that can be competitive with the fastest custom protocols. Moreover, generic protocols like ours can be used directly for performing more complex secure computations, something we demonstrate by adding a simple information-auditing mechanism to our PSI protocols.


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