Sarah Scheffler - "Decrypting Legal Dilemmas" - PhD Final Exam

  • Starts: 2:00 pm on Tuesday, June 29, 2021
  • Ends: 4:00 pm on Tuesday, June 29, 2021
It has become a truism that the speed of technological progress has left law and policy scrambling to keep up. But in addition to creating new challenges, technological advances enable new improvements as well. In this thesis, I will contribute new cryptographic tools for informing and improving our law and policy; these tools include specific technical interventions and also inform the limits of possible interventions. First, we present a cryptographic analysis of a legal question surrounding the limits of the Fifth Amendment: can courts legally compel people to decrypt their devices? Our cryptographic analysis is useful not only for answering this specific question about encrypted devices, but also for analyzing questions about the wider legal doctrine. The second part turns to algorithmic fairness. With the rise of automated decision-making for more and more use cases, greater attention has been paid to statistical notions of fairness and equity. In this part of the work, we demonstrate technical limits and innovations on those statistical notions, which in turn should inform legal or policy interventions. Finally, the third section describes several methods for improving zero-knowledge proofs, yielding a concrete proof size reduction of "MPC-in-the-head'' and "Ligero'' style proofs. We will describe areas where zero-knowledge proofs in general can improve legal regimes, and comment on why these specific proof systems are currently a good choice for implementing these protocols in practice.
via Zoom

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