Almost 50 years ago, a visionary psychologist, Stanley Milgram, questioned the scientific world with a small-world problem that was later named as the Six Degree Of Separation experiment. He sent several packages to 160 randomly chosen persons living in Omaha, Nebraska, asking them to forward the package to a friend who they thought would bring it closer to the destination: Boston, Massachusetts. Milgram tracked the packages and found out that the average distance (in terms of persons) between the sender and the receiver was five (resulting in six degrees of separation).
Two years later, ARPANET became one of the first operational computer networks. Meanwhile, more
and more computer networks were interconnected and their size gave birth to new questions
related to Milgram's experiment: by 2015, it is reported
that 43% of world's population is using
the Internet and the estimated degree of separation between two users of a notorious social
network is 4. Why is this possible? Simply, because there is a set of tools (browsers,
scripting/markup languages) allowing people to communicate and explore the extending virtual
jungle (the Internet). Nowadays, many Internet users store data online through
storage providers and more and more questions are related to the privacy of these data.
The main topic of my research project is functional encryption and the fundamental question
that motivated my project is the way we can access the data stored by third parties. As an owner
of an email address with emails stored on “cloud”, I would like to prevent a third party reading
my messages, while preserving many existing functions (e.g. email searches, enabling spam
filters). A desired solution is to have a way to control what a trusted authority should see on
the data I store. Functional encryption comes with solutions to this problem. The long-term
desired objective of my project is to investigate the potential of functional encryption in
tackling such problems.
I consider myself very lucky to work in the Crypto Team - CASCADE, and to be part of the ECRYPT-NET project. I hold a master degree (incorporating bachelor) in Computing.
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