Conference Paper: “Privacy-Preserving Peer Discovery for Group Management in P2P Networks”

Tommi Meskanen, Valtteri Niemi
University of Helsinki
Jarkko Kuusijarvi
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

27th Conference of Open Innovations Association FRUCT
Trento, Italy + Online
September 7th-9th, 2020


The necessity for peer-to-peer (p2p) communications is obvious; current centralized solutions are capturing and storing too much information from the individual people communicating with each other. Privacy concerns with a centralized solution in possession of all the users’ data are a difficult matter. HELIOS platform introduces a new social media platform that is not in control of any central operator but brings the power of possession of the data back to the users. It does not have centralized servers that store and handle receiving/sending of the messages. Instead, it relies on the current open-source solutions available in the p2p communities to propagate the messages to the wanted recipients of the data and/or messages. The p2p communications also introduce new problems in terms of privacy and tracking of the user, as the nodes part of a p2p network can see what data the other nodes provide and ask for. How the sharing of data in a p2p network can be achieved securely, taking into account the user’s privacy is a question that has not been fully answered so far. We do not claim we answer this question fully in this paper either, but we propose a set of protocols to help answer one specific problem. Especially, this paper proposes how to privately share data (end-point address or other) of the user between other users, provided that they have previously connected with each other securely, either offline or online.