SoK: Techniques for Verifiable Mix Nets
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Since David Chaum introduced the idea of mix nets 40 years ago, they have become widely used building blocks for privacy-preserving protocols. Several important applications, such as secure e-voting, require that the employed mix net be verifiable. In the literature, numerous techniques have been proposed to make mix nets verifiable. Some of them have also been employed in politically binding elections. Verifiable mix nets differ in many aspects, including their precise verifiability levels, possible trust assumptions, and required cryptographic primitives; unfortunately, these differences are often opaque, making comparison painful. To shed light on this intransparent state of affairs, we provide the following contributions. For each verifiability technique proposed to date, we first precisely describe how the underlying basic mix net is to be extended and which (additional) cryptographic primitives are required, and then study its verifiability level, including possible trust assumptions, within one generic and expressive verifiability framework. Based on our uniform treatment, we are able to transparently compare all known verifiability techniques for mix nets, including their advantages and limitations. Altogether, our work offers a detailed and expressive reference point for the design, employment, and comparison of verifiable mix nets.