Google Research

Making programs forget: Enforcing Lifetime for Sensitive Data

Proceedings of the 13th USENIX conference on Hot topics in operating systems, USENIX Association, Berkeley, CA, USA (2013)


This paper introduces guaranteed data lifetime, a novel system property ensuring that sensitive data cannot be retrieved from a system beyond a specified time. The trivial way to achieve this is to "reboot"; however, this is disruptive from the user's perspective, and may not even eliminate disk copies. We discuss an alternate approach based on state re-incarnation where data expiry is completely transparent to the user, and can be used even if the system is not designed a priori to provide the property.

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