SoK: Privacy-Preserving Reputation Systems

Authors: Stan Gurtler (University of Waterloo), Ian Goldberg (University of Waterloo)

Volume: 2021
Issue: 1
Pages: 107–127

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Abstract: Trust and user-generated feedback have become increasingly vital to the normal functioning of the modern internet. However, deployed systems that currently incorporate such feedback do not guarantee users much in the way of privacy, despite a wide swath of research on how to do so spanning over 15 years. Meanwhile, research on systems that maintain user privacy while helping them to track and update each others’ reputations has failed to standardize terminology, or converge on what privacy guarantees should be important. Too often, this leads to misunderstandings of the tradeoffs underpinning design decisions. Further, key insights made in some approaches to designing such systems have not circulated to other approaches, leaving open significant opportunity for new research directions. This SoK investigates 42 systems describing privacypreserving reputation systems from 2003–2019 in order to organize previous work and suggest directions for future work. Our three key contributions are the systematization of this body of research, the detailing of the tradeoffs implied by overarching design choices, and the identification of underresearched areas that provide promising opportunities for future work.

Keywords: anonymity, privacy, reputation

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