Virtual Walls: Protecting Digital Privacy in Pervasive Environments
- Cite this paper as:
- Kapadia A., Henderson T., Fielding J.J., Kotz D. (2007) Virtual Walls: Protecting Digital Privacy in Pervasive Environments. In: LaMarca A., Langheinrich M., Truong K.N. (eds) Pervasive Computing. Pervasive 2007. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 4480. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
As pervasive environments become more commonplace, the privacy of users is placed at increased risk. The numerous and diverse sensors in these environments can record users’ contextual information, leading to users unwittingly leaving “digital footprints.” Users must thus be allowed to control how their digital footprints are reported to third parties. While a significant amount of prior work has focused on location privacy, location is only one type of footprint, and we expect most users to be incapable of specifying fine-grained policies for a multitude of footprints. In this paper we present a policy language based on the metaphor of physical walls, and posit that users will find this abstraction to be an intuitive way to control access to their digital footprints. For example, users understand the privacy implications of meeting in a room enclosed by physical walls. By allowing users to deploy “virtual walls,” they can control the privacy of their digital footprints much in the same way they control their privacy in the physical world. We present a policy framework and model for virtual walls with three levels of transparency that correspond to intuitive levels of privacy, and the results of a user study that indicates that our model is easy to understand and use.
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