An efficient privacy-preserving comparison protocol in smart metering systems

Majid Nateghizad*, Zekeriya Erkin, Reginald L. Lagendijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


In smart grids, providing power consumption statistics to the customers and generating recommendations for managing electrical devices are considered to be effective methods that can help to reduce energy consumption. Unfortunately, providing power consumption statistics and generating recommendations rely on highly privacy-sensitive smart meter consumption data. From the past experience, we see that it is essential to find scientific solutions that enable the utility providers to provide such services for their customers without damaging customers’ privacy. One effective approach relies on cryptography, where sensitive data is only given in the encrypted form to the utility provider and is processed under encryption without leaking content. The proposed solutions using this approach are very effective for privacy protection but very expensive in terms of computation and communication. In this paper, we focus on an essential operation for designing a privacy-preserving recommender system for smart grids, namely comparison, that takes two encrypted values and outputs which one is greater than the other one. We improve the state-of-the-art comparison protocol based on Homomorphic Encryption in terms of computation and communication by 56 and 25 %, respectively, by introducing algorithmic changes and data packing. As the smart meters are very limited devices, the overall improvement achieved is promising for the future deployment of such cryptographic protocols for enabling privacy enhanced services in smart grids.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11
JournalEurasip Journal on Information Security
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Homomorphic encryption
  • Privacy
  • Recommender system
  • Secure comparison
  • Smart metering


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