Mendel: Efficiently Verifying the Lineage of Data Modified in Multiple Trust Domains


Gehani, A., & Kim, M. (2010, June). Mendel: Efficiently verifying the lineage of data modified in multiple trust domains. In Proceedings of the 19th ACM International Symposium on High Performance Distributed Computing (pp. 227-239).


Data is routinely created, disseminated, and processed in distributed systems that span multiple administrative domains. To maintain accountability while the data is transformed by multiple parties, a consumer must be able to check the lineage of the data and deem it trustworthy. If integrity is not ensured, the consequences can be significant, particularly when the data cannot easily be reproduced. Verifying the provenance of a piece of data generated using inputs from multiple administrative domains is likely to require the use of numerous public keys that originate at external institutions. Current methods for verifying the integrity of such data from other users will not scale for provenance metadata since scores of verifications may be needed to validate a single file’s lineage graph. We describe Mendel, a protocol with a three-pronged strategy that combines eager signature verification, lazy trust establishment, and cryptographic ordering witnesses to yield fast lineage verification in distributed multi-domain environments. Further, we show how decisional lineage queries, that is whether one file is the ancestor of the other, can be answered with high probability in constant time.

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