Revisiting Secure Computation Using Functional Encryption: Opportunities and Research Directions
Increasing incidents of security compromises and privacy leakage have raised serious privacy concerns related to cyberspace. Such privacy concerns have been instrumental in the creation of several regulations and acts to restrict the availability and use of privacy-sensitive data. The secure computation problem, initially and formally introduced as secure two-party computation by Andrew Yao in 1986, has been the focus of intense research in academia because of its fundamental role in building many of the existing privacy-preserving approaches. Most of the existing secure computation solutions rely on garbled-circuits and homomorphic encryption techniques to tackle secure computation issues, including efficiency and security guarantees. However, it is still challenging to adopt these secure computation approaches in emerging compute-intensive and data-intensive applications such as emerging machine learning solutions. Recently proposed functional encryption scheme has shown its promise as an underlying secure computation foundation in recent privacy-preserving machine learning approaches proposed. This paper revisits the secure computation problem using emerging and promising functional encryption techniques and presents a comprehensive study. We first briefly summarize existing conventional secure computation approaches built on garbled-circuits, oblivious transfer, and homomorphic encryption techniques. Then, we elaborate on the unique characteristics and challenges of emerging functional encryption based secure computation approaches and outline several research directions.