A user model for information erasure.
Paper in proceedings, 2009
Hunt and Sands (ESOP'08) studied a notion of information erasure for systems which receive secrets intended for limited-time use. Erasure demands that once a secret has fulfilled its purpose the subsequent behaviour of the system should reveal no information about the erased data. In this paper we address a shortcoming in that work: for erasure to be possible the user who provides data must also play his part, but previously that role was only specified informally. Here we provide a formal model of the user and a collection of requirements called erasure friendliness. We prove that an erasure-friendly user can be composed with an erasing system (in the sense of Hunt and Sands) to obtain a combined system which is jointly erasing in an appropriate sense. In doing so we identify stronger requirements on the user than those informally described in the previous work.