Secrecy by Design with Applications to Privacy and Compression

Yanina Y. Shkel, Rick S. Blum, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Secrecy by design is examined as an approach to information-theoretic secrecy. The main idea behind this approach is to design an information processing system from the ground up to be perfectly secure with respect to an explicit secrecy constraint. The principal technical contributions are decomposition bounds that allow the representation of a random variable X as a deterministic function of (S,Z) , where S is a given fixed random variable and Z is constructed to be independent of S. Using the problems of privacy and lossless compression as examples, the utility cost of applying secrecy by design is investigated. Privacy is studied in the setting of the privacy funnel function previously introduced in the literature and new bounds for the regime of zero information leakage are derived. For the problem of lossless compression, it is shown that strong information-theoretic guarantees can be achieved using a reduced secret key size and a quantifiable penalty on the compression rate. The fundamental limits for both problems are characterized with matching lower and upper bounds when the secret S is a deterministic function of the information source X.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number9272984
Pages (from-to)824-843
Number of pages20
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


  • Data compression
  • information entropy
  • information security
  • privacy
  • random variables


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