Abstract: Imagine that Alice wants to send a message to Bob, and that Carol wants to prevent this. Assume there is a communication channel between Alice and Bob, but that Carol is capable of blocking this channel. Furthermore, there is a cost of S dollars to send on the channel, L dollars to listen on the channel and B to block the channel. How much will Alice and Bob need to spend in order to guarantee transmission of the message? This problem abstracts many types of conflict in information networks including: jamming attacks in wireless networks and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on the Internet, where the costs to Alice, Bob and Carol represent an expenditure of energy and network resources. The problem allows us to quantitatively analyze the economics of information exchange in an adversarial setting and ask: Is communication cheaper than censorship? We answer this question in the affirmative by showing that it is significantly more costly for Carol to block communication of the message than for Alice to communicate it to Bob.
Guest: Valerie King
Host: Yvonne-Anne Pignolet