A Method for Proving Observational Equivalence

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Executive Summary

Formal methods have proved their usefulness for analyzing the security of protocols. Most existing results focus on trace properties like secrecy (expressed as a reachability property) or authentication. There are however several security properties, which cannot be defined (or cannot be naturally defined) as trace properties and require the notion of observational equivalence. Typical examples are anonymity, privacy related properties or statements closer to security properties used in cryptography. In this paper, the authors consider the applied pi calculus and they show that for determinate processes, observational equivalence actually coincides with trace equivalence, a notion simpler to reason with.

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