Kinan Dak Albab

PhD Candidate @ Brown University, Computer Science
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Data Privacy By Construction

Got Privacy?

I build real systems and new tools to improve end user privacy using every tool possible from Systems, Cryptography, and Programming Languages.I am interested in achieving compliance-by-construction for privacy legislation via drop-in systems. I built Pelton, a database with per-user physical storage. Pelton has a MySQL-like API and can be used by web applications with only a few schema annotations. Pelton provides correct-by-construction endpoints for complying with GDPR subject access requests and encryption at rest with per-user keys, with at-most a modest overhead compared to non-compliant databases.

I am interested in pushing the limits of privacy-preserving technologies using protocol/system co-design. I designed and built
DP-PIR, a novel cryptographic protocol and system for Private Information Retrieval, which allows users to query a remotely-held database privately, without revealing the content of their queries to the service. DP-PIR combines ideas from Cryptographic Secret Sharing, Mixnets and anonymous network systems, and differential privacy (among others). This allows it to achieve constant computation and communication complexity for servers and clients, and concrete speedups over two orders of magnitude, for applications with high query rates. With DP-PIR, loads and applications previously believed to be impractical, such as mobile app updates, contact tracing, dependency vulnerability detection, map routing, and many others, can now be carried out privately. This work was just accepted to USENIX Security 2022.

I built various open-source software packages for secure computation, worked on associated developer tool-chains, and studied and improved the usability of secure computation. My work has been deployed in the real-world to measure the wage gap in the greater Boston area privately, in collaboration with the Boston Women Workforce Council and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, with recent deployments handling data from over 100 Boston companies representing billions of dollars in wages, and over 16% of the greater Boston workforce. My work, along with many of my collaborators, led to the formation of a secure computation startup, nthparty.

I am advised by
Malte Schwarzkopf. Before joining Brown, I received a masters in Computer Science from Boston University in 2020, and a bachelors in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut (AUB) in 2015. I was a senior software engineer at InteractiveLife, and a software engineering fellow at the Software and Application Innovation Lab (SAIL). I was a visiting student at MIT with Professor Dina Katabi and the Emerald Innovation team. I interned at Google with the NetInfra team.


A general-purpose JavaScript framework for secure multiparty computation (MPC) for the web!
JIFF was used as a backend for many of our real-world MPC deployments studying the wage gap in the greater Boston Area, and by many researchers to implement new protocols, such as for
increasing accountability in the US court system, and for building an encrypted gun registry.

An implementation of a two-party oblivious pseudorandom function, based on DDH on elliptic curves, in TypeScript and WASM.
OPRF is can be used as a building block for private set intersection and other secure computation protocols.

An automated UI tool for resource estimation for Secure programs. Carousels produces symbolic cost recurrences and plots over user-chosen dimensions to compare different implementations and configuration. Carousels can help developers detect performance bugs and unintended security leaks via resource side channels.
Work in progress.

Select Publications

Batched Differentially Private Information Retrieval
Kinan Dak Albab, Rawane Issa, Mayank Varia, Kalman Graffi
2022 USENIX Security
Preprint Version

SwitchV: Automated SDN Switch Validation with P4 Models
Kinan Dak Albab, Jonathan DiLorenzo, Stefan Heule, Ali Kheradmand, Steffen Smolka, Konstantin Weitz, Muhammad Tirmarzi, Jiaqi Gao, Minlan Yu

Tutorial: Deploying Secure Multi-Party Computation on the Web Using JIFF
Kinan Dak Albab, Rawane Issa, Andrei Lapets, Peter Flockhart, Lucy Qin, Ira Globus-Harris
2019 IEEE Cybersecurity Development (SecDev) 2019
Published Version

From Usability to Secure Computing and Back Again
Lucy Qin, Andrei Lapets, Frederick Jansen, Peter Flockhart, Kinan Dak Albab, Ira Globus-Harris, Shannon Roberts, Mayank Varia
2019 Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (USENIX SOUPS)
Published version

Accessible Privacy-Preserving Web-Based Data Analysis for Assessing and Addressing Economic Inequalities
Andrei Lapets, Frederick Jansen, Kinan Dak Albab, Rawane Issa, Lucy Qin, Mayank Varia, Azer Bestavros
Proceedings of the 1st ACM SIGCAS Conference on Computing and Sustainable Societies (ACM COMPASS)
San Jose, CA, USA, 2018, Article 48
Published version

Model and Program Repair via SAT Solving
Paul C. Attie, Kinan Dak Al Bab, and Mohamad Sakr
ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems (TECS)
Volume 17 Issue 2. December 2017
Published version

Full list on Google scholar!


Honors and Awards

  • Teaching Excellence Award: Boston University, Department of Computer Science, 2020.

  • Vivli and Microsoft datatheon on Privacy and Utility of Rare Diseases Datasets: Outstanding Graduate Submission, 2019.

  • Hariri Institute for Computing (HIC @ BU) Gradute Student Fellow 2017-2020.

  • Mark Sawaya Excellence Award , Best Graduating Student in Computer Science (AUB), 2015.

  • AUB Dean's Honor List: Fall 2013, Spring 2014.

  • 1st Place in ACM Lebanese Collegiate Programming Contest (Team Khawarizmi), 2015.

  • 1st Place in AUB's Supernacci Math Programming Competition (Team 0xdeadbeef), 2015.

Fun Stuff

Big fan of modern C++, move semantics, and templates.

Coq hobbyist: my shower thoughts often drift to thinking up scenarios for theorem assistants and privacy. Drop me a line if you have related ideas or want to collaborate.

When I am not on my Computer, I am probably at a Metal show, grilling in the backyard, or drinking some beer.

If you are reading this, go listen to
Lorna Shore, or better yet, listen to my bad guitar playing in my very own doom metal band from way back in high school!

Let's go Red Sox! Yankees suck.