Cryptographic Techniques for Privacy Preservation

Postgraduate course, IIT Kanpur, Computer Science and Engineering, 2024

About the Course

The last couple of decades have seen a significant proliferation of the Internet in our daily lives. From essential services like banking and health to entertainment like movies and music, have moved online. The Covid-19 pandemic only accelerated these trends. While these trends have made our lives easier and brought great conveniences, it has also resulted in a substantial infringement on the privacy of individuals. Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) are technologies that help protect the privacy of individuals or groups. There are several ways in which PETs can constructed. In this course, we will look at some of the cryptographic approaches to achieving privacy. In particular, some of the topics that will be covered are: (i) Can one stream a movie on, say, Netflix while Netflix has no idea what one watched? (Private Information Retrieval); (ii) Can two millionaires find out who is richer without revealing to each other their wealth (Secure Multi-Party Computation)? (iii) Can you convince your friend that you know a solution to the Graph 3-coloring problem without them learning the 3-coloring or any new information? (Zero Knowledge Proofs); (iv) Can you outsource storage to a remote server and access data from it while all your access patterns are hidden? (Oblivious Random Access Memory).

Course Organization

Where and When?

KD101. Monday and Wednesday, 5.15 PM to 6.30 PM.

Course Staff

  • Instructor: Adithya Vadapalli

Teaching Assistants

  • Anindya
  • Dhananjay
  • Hrithik
  • Naman

Office Hours

Location: KD-317, Time: Monday 11 AM to 12 PM


Students are welcome to meet the instructor and discuss any thing from the course during the office hours.


  • Assignment 1 can be downloaded here.

Course Schedule

#ModuleDateTopicCompulsory ReadingOptional ReadingLecture Material 
10: Intro8.1.24Why PrivacyI have nothing to hideTBDTBD 
20: Intro10.1.24Crypto RefresherTBDTBDTBD 
31: PIR15.1.24Quiz 1 + Information Theoretic Private Information RetrievalSection 1 to Section 3.2 , Section 5 in Chor et al’s PaperSection 3.3, 3.4, and 4 Chor et al’s PaperTBD 
41: PIR17.1.24Information Theoretic Private Information RetrievalGoldberg’s Paper, Shamir’s Secret SharingOptimally Robust PIR, How to share a secretTBD 
51: PIR22.1.24Distributed Point FunctionsSection 2.1.1 from Duoram paper, Figure 1 from DPF paper, Section II-A from Sabre Paper, Section 6.1 from the Pirsona Paper, Section 4.1 to 4.3 in the Riposte paperSection 3 from Grotto Paper , The original DPF paper, DPF based PIR schemeTBD 
61: PIR24.1.24Review LectureTBDTBDTBD 
71: PIR29.1.24Computational PIRSurvey on CPIRTBDTBD 
81: PIR31.1.24Quiz 2 + PirsonaPirsona PaperTBDTBD 
91: PIR5.2.24PirsonaPirsona PaperTBDTBD 
102: MPC7.2.24Introduction to MPCChapter 2 MPC Book, MPCHow To Simulate ItTBD 
112: MPC12.2.24Oblivious TransferTBDTBDTBD 
122: MPC14.2.24Garbled Circuits (GC)TBDIntroduction to Garbled CircuitsTBD 
132: MPC26.2.24Optimizatios of GC, GMW protocolTBDTBDTBD 
142: MPC28.2.24Quiz 3 + Beaver TriplesTBDTBDTBD 
152: MPC4.3.24MPC ApplicationsTBDTBDTBD 
162: MPC6.3.24Review Lecture on MPCTBDTBDTBD 
173: ORAM9.3.24 (extra class)Squareroot ORAMSections 1 to 4 hereOriginal ORAM PaperTBD 
183: ORAM11.3.24Hierarchical ORAMChapter 1 from here, Original Tree ORAM paperTBDTBD 
193: ORAM13.3.24ORAM for MPC, FloramRevisiting Square Root ORAM paper, Original Floram PaperTBDTBD 


  • [1] Private Information Retrieval Chor, Goldreich, Kushilevitz here
  • [2] Gentle Introduction to Yao’s Garbled Circuits here
  • [3] Blog on TEE here
  • [4] Resources for MPC: here, and here
  • [5] Winter School on MPC

Additional Resources

The are of Privacy and Security really benefits from some outstanding lectures available online. Some of them are below.

  1. Kevin Yeo’s talk at CrySP on Private Information Retrieval
  2. Ryan Henry’s tutorial on PIR at ACM CCS 2017

Course Resources

There is no one textbook for this course. There are few useful books though.

  • Modern Cryptography by Katz and Lindell
  • Pragmatic MPC by Evans, Koselnikov, and Rosulek


Assignment 120%
Assignment 220%
Assignment 340%
Final Exam15%

Academic Integrity

See CSE Department’s Policy here

Mental Health Support

See Counselling Service of CSE Deparment here