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Low-Cost and Reliable Mutual Anonymity Protocols in Peer-to-Peer Networks
September 2003 (vol. 14 no. 9)
pp. 829-840
Li Xiao, IEEE
Zhichen Xu, IEEE

Abstract—We present several protocols to achieve mutual communication anonymity between an information requester and a provider in a P2P information-sharing environment, such that neither the requester nor the provider can identify each other, and no other peers can identify the two communicating parties with certainty. Most existing solutions achieve mutual anonymity in pure P2P systems without any trusted central controls. Compared with two such representative ones, our protocols improve efficiency in two different ways. First, utilizing trusted third parties and aiming at both reliability and low-cost, we propose a group of mutual anonymity protocols. We show that with some limited central support, our protocols can accomplish the goals of anonymity, efficiency, and reliability. Second, we propose a mutual anonymity protocol which relies solely on self-organizations among peers without any trusted central controls. In this protocol, the returning path can be shorter than the requesting path. This protocol does not need to broadcast the requested file back to the requester so that the bandwidth is saved and efficiency is improved. In addition, this protocol does not need special nodes to keep indices of sharing files, thus eliminating the index maintenance overhead and the potential for inconsistency between index records and peer file contents. We have evaluated our techniques in a browser-sharing environment. We show that the average increase in response time caused by our protocols is negligible, and these protocols show advantages over existing protocols in a P2P system.

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Index Terms:
Peer-to-peer (P2P) systems, mutual anonymity, communication protocols, Internet systems, overlay networks.
Li Xiao, Zhichen Xu, Xiaodong Zhang, "Low-Cost and Reliable Mutual Anonymity Protocols in Peer-to-Peer Networks," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 14, no. 9, pp. 829-840, Sept. 2003, doi:10.1109/TPDS.2003.1233706
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