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Browse Prior Art Database

Anonymous Delivery of Goods in Electronic Commerce

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000117565D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-31
Document File: 4 page(s) / 148K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Hauser, R: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Disclosed is a method that allows on-line (electronic) purchase and delivery of (both electronic and physical) goods in a manner that preserves anonymity of the consumer. The method is secure and resistant to cheating by both consumers and merchants.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 36% of the total text.

Anonymous Delivery of Goods in Electronic Commerce

      Disclosed is a method that allows on-line (electronic) purchase
and delivery of (both electronic and physical) goods in a manner that
preserves anonymity of the consumer.  The method is secure and
resistant to cheating by both consumers and merchants.

The following notation is used throughout this document.
   C,M     - Consumer and Merchant, the protocol participants;
   ID-x    - user ID of X;
   PK-x    - Public Key of X (X=C or X=M);
   SK-x    - Secret/Private Key of X (X=C or X=M);
   Rc/Rd   - Random numbers (nonces)
   Cert-x  - Public Key Certificate of X; includes PK-x
   H(text) - Strong one-way Hash function computed over "text", e.g.,
              Secure Hash Function (SHA) or MD5.
   Sx(text)- Signature computed under SKx, Sx[text]=SK-x(H(text))
   {text}  - Optional text

      Prerequisites for the present method are the possibility of
anonymous communication (e.g., (1) and a public key infrastructure
(for merchants only).  The buying process is started by a sender,
usually a prospective consumer, who composes an offer request with a
plaintext (unencrypted) description of the desired product or service
and a random quantity H(Rc).  This construction does not by itself
reveal the sender's identity.

      The resultant offer request is sent anonymously to one or more
selected merchant(s), or even broadcasted, via the network.  If a
merchant decides to make an offer, he/she composes a reply with an
offer description and his/her digital signature (SIG_offer), which is
computed over the sender's random quantity H(Rc), and transmits it
back to the sender.  The merchant's public key may also have to be
transmitted since in some cases the sender does not yet have it.

      Upon receiving the message, the consumer can (if necessary)
extract the merchant's public key and verify the merchant's SIG_offer
computed over (among other values) the consumer's H(Rc).

      The present method commences when the consumer decides to
purchase the aforementioned merchandise based on a previous
bid/offer.  The payment process itself is outside the scope of this
document.  (See (2) or (3) for examples of secure electronic payment
protocols and scenarios.)

      Assume that the payment process takes place before the delivery
of goods (although it can, in principle, take place concurrently.)

Step 1.
  a) (note: Consumer is assumed to retain Rc and SIG_offer from
      above.)  Consumer generates another random number Rd and
      computes H(Rd).
  b) Optionally, consumer generates a public/private key-pair
      (PKtmp,SKtmp).  (This key-pair is to be used for the delivery
of
      goods later.)
  c) Consumer sends to merchant a COMMIT_REQUEST message containing:
         H(Rc), H(Rd), C_options
   where H(Rc), H(Rd) are as described above and "C_options" are
    optional param...