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A distributed access control module in wireless sensor networks (WSNs) allows the network to authorize and grant user access privileges for in-network data access. Prior research mainly focuses on designing such access control modules for WSNs, but little attention has been paid to protect user's identity privacy when a user is verified by the network for data accesses. Often, a user does not want the WSN to associate his identity to the data he requests. In this paper, we present the design, implementation, and evaluation of a novel approach, Priccess, to ensure distributed privacy-preserving access control. In Priccess, users who have similar access privileges are organized into the same group by the network owner. A network user signs a query command on behalf of his group and then sends the signed query to the sensor nodes of his interest. The signature can be verified by its recipient as coming from someone authorized without exposing the actual signer. In addition to the theoretical analysis that demonstrates the security properties of Priccess, this paper also reports the experimental results of Priccess in a network of Imote2 motes, which show the efficiency of Priccess in practice.
Date of Publication: October 2011