Weakly-Private Information Retrieval
Paper in proceedings, 2019
Private information retrieval (PIR) protocols make it possible to retrieve a file from a database without disclosing any information about the identity of the file being retrieved. These protocols have been rigorously explored from an information-theoretic perspective in recent years. While existing protocols strictly impose that no information is leaked on the file’s identity, this work initiates the study of the tradeoffs that can be achieved by relaxing the requirement of perfect privacy. In case the user is willing to leak some information on the identity of the retrieved file, we study how the PIR rate, as well as the upload cost and access complexity, can be improved. For the particular case of replicated servers, we propose two weakly-private information retrieval schemes based on two recent PIR protocols and a family of schemes based on partitioning. Lastly, we compare the performance of the proposed schemes.