Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Because we live our lives digitally, there’s no turning back the clock to simpler times when personal data was locked up in file cabinets and bank safe deposit boxes.  We spew information about ourselves into the cybersphere via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Web sites requiring registration, personal identity cards and other kinds of smart cards. But is there a way that we can dole out information in small, controllable pieces–just enough to get things done but not a byte more?

The answer is yes, and a European research consortium is leading the way to delivering this capability on a mass scale.

The consortium, called ABC4Trust, is building safeguarding systems based on privacy-protecting technologies from IBM and Microsoft.  It plans on testing the systems in a university in Greece and a secondary school in Sweden. The technologies, called Attribute-Based Credentials (where the ABC in the name comes from), make it possible to build Web services and electronic ID systems that get just enough information to authenticate peoples’ identities, qualifications and permissions–but no more.

JanToday’s announcement of the research consortium and its project was timed to coincide with international Data Privacy Day, which is intended to bring attention to privacy threats that go hand in hand with living the digital life. “The more we use electronic communications and media, we’re revealing more and more information about ourselves–and it’s impossible to keep track of where the information goes and to keep it under control,” says Jan Camenisch, a cryptography researcher at IBM Research in Zurich who led the development of IBM’s Identity Mixer technology.

The first pilot program will be conducted at Norrtullskolan, a school in Soderhamn, Sweden. The system will allow pupils and parents to authenticate themselves when accessing the school’s social network and when communicating with medical and counseling personnel. The second pilot will be run at the Research Academic Computer Technology Institute in Patras, Greece. There, students using the university’s faculty evaluation system will be able to give their feedback anonymously. At the same time, the university will be able to confirm that a student is eligible to participate.

Participants in the pilots are issued electronic identity credentials, which they keep on a smart card or mobile phone. The credentials confirm that they’re eligible to take part–without giving our their names or other sensitive information. The Greek pilot will include a system for gathering feedback. “The hope is that students will participate in the evaluation system more readily if they’re assured of anonymity,” says Yannis Stamatiou, a math professor at the University of Ioannina who is the technical lead on the Greek pilot.

While Attribute-Based Credentials only address a narrow slice of the threats to digital privacy, they’ll be useful in a host of situations. For instance, electronic identity cards are proliferating rapidly in Europe, but along with their convenience they also bring problems. When a student uses their government-issued e-ID card to prove their age to access a teenage chat room or some vacationing family shows their passport at a hotel, they’re also handing over a lot of additional information. No good. So this kind of technology will be a key piece of our data defense systems going forward.

While new privacy-enabling technologies are being developed, Camenisch has some practical advice for consumers: “Minimize the information you send out, and, once you decide to give out information, try to control it by attaching usage policies that the people you give it to are obliged to follow.” That will take some effort, but, as anybody who has had their identity stolen will tell you, the effort to protect yourself is well worth it.

Some related links:

Bookmark and Share

Previous post

Next post

April 4, 2014
12:09 am

To ensure total conquest hack apk your account. Okay it says” installation from unknown sources” in the war.

So a little harder instead of trying to get heroesGetting heroes in
castle clash total conquest hack apk player able to blow up along the back of the first-person shooter developed by a power shot,
you know.

Posted by:
May 6, 2013
5:03 am

Many file cabinets incorporate a keyed lock to prevent unauthorized access to the documents being stored. There are two types of locks. A “cam lock” is activated with a key that rotates the lock. A “plunger lock” is opened with a key but can be closed by merely depressing the body of the lock. The plunger lock allows a user to quickly close and lock several cabinets in a short amount of time.,”

Have a good week

Posted by: Jere Witchey
February 27, 2011
1:53 pm

Sorry, cut-and pastefault: the address is

J Ruohtula

Posted by: Jaakko Ruohtula
February 27, 2011
1:47 pm

Dear Sir

I came here through IBM-pages and found on the way a good example of right and false amount of personal information….

In address is, I think, something wery interesting. But getting to the document I have to give lot’s of information BEFORE I can know whether the document is for me or not.

In an idealistic world the marketing staff’s WATSON shows me at least something and asks then, afterwards, my name and contact-address.

Jaakko Ruohtula
(retired DBA)

Posted by: Jaakko Ruohtula
4 Trackbacks
September 29, 2011
10:36 am

[...] European research consortium to pilot digital privacy solutions at university and secondary school Cybersecurity how to give up just the right amount of e-information Primelife follow-up project ABC4trust launched  Protecting identities and privacy with innovative [...]

Posted by: Attribute-based Credentials To Preserve Privacy | T3H Blog
February 16, 2011
3:30 pm

[...] We need to improve awareness of threats to privacy among people of all ages. People need to know how to protect their own personal data and how to properly manage data that relates to others. Within IBM, we mandate information security education for all employees from senior executive to recent hire, and have tailored a Privacy: What you Need to Know course for all employees who may handle personal data. IBM is also producing technology that allows people to give out just the information they want to share and no more–some of which is being showcased in a new data privacy research initiative, ABC4TRUST. [...]

Posted by: Data Privacy Day: How to Balance Privacy and the Free Flow of Information | A Smarter Planet Blog
February 10, 2011
1:50 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by carolwong and Smarter Planet MY, Madrzejszy Swiat. Madrzejszy Swiat said: Bezpieczeństwo w Sieci: [...]

Posted by: Tweets that mention Cybersecurity: How to Give Up Just the Right Amount of e-Information | A Smarter Planet Blog --
January 28, 2011
5:09 pm

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Steve Hamm and Ruchi, Internet of Things. Internet of Things said: Cybersecurity: How to Give Up Just the Right Amount of e-Information #IoT [...]

Posted by: Tweets that mention Cybersecurity: How to Give Up Just the Right Amount of e-Information | A Smarter Planet Blog --
Post a Comment