Privacy Protection for Smartphones: An Ontology-Based Firewall

  • Johann Vincent
  • Christine Porquet
  • Maroua Borsali
  • Harold Leboulanger
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6633)


With the outbreak of applications for smartphones, attempts to collect personal data without their user’s consent are multiplying and the protection of users privacy has become a major issue. In this paper, an approach based on semantic web languages (OWL and SWRL) and tools (DL reasoners and ontology APIs) is described. The proposed semantic firewall takes its decisions (authorize or forbid some action) on the basis of a set of privacy protection rules grounded on two ontologies respectively modeling identity of mobile phone’s users and privacy policies. To validate this ontology-based approach, a proof of concept involving a real privacy threat scenario is implemented in Java and the porting of the semantic firewall to the Android platform is outlined.


Privacy protection ontologies smartphones semantic firewall 


  1. 1.
    Gartner. Gartner says worldwide mobile phone sales grew 17 per cent in first quarter 2010 (May 2010)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Gartner. Android to become no. 2 worldwide mobile operating system in 2010 and challenge symbian for no. 1 position by 2014 (September 2010)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lookout. The app genome project (July 2010),
  4. 4.
    Allemang, D., Hendler, J.: Semantic web for the working ontologist. In: Effective Modeling in RDFS and OWL. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco (2008)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    McGuinness, D.L., Van Harmelen, F., et al. Owl web ontology language overview. W3C recommendation, 10:2004–03 (2004)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Horrocks, I., Patel-Schneider, P.F., Boley, H., Tabet, S., Grosof, B., Dean, M.: Swrl: A semantic web rule language combining owl and ruleml. W3C Member submission, 21 (2004)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brickley, D., Miller, L.: Foaf vocabulary specification 0.98. Namespace document, FOAF Project (August 2010),
  8. 8.
    Iannella, R.: Representing vcard objects in rdf/xml, 12 (2001),
  9. 9.
    Tonti, G., Bradshaw, J.M., Jeffers, R., Montanari, R., Suri, N., Uszok, A.: Semantic web languages for policy representation and reasoning: A comparison of kAoS, rei, and ponder. In: Fensel, D., Sycara, K., Mylopoulos, J. (eds.) ISWC 2003. LNCS, vol. 2870, pp. 419–437. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kagal, L., Paolucci, M., Srinivasan, N., Denker, G., Finin, T., Sycara, K.: Authorization and privacy for semantic web services. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 50–56 (2004)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen, H., Finin, T., Joshi, A.: The soupa ontology for pervasive computing. In: Ontologies for agents: Theory and experiences, pp. 233–258 (2005)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
  13. 13.
    Sirin, E., Parsia, B., Grau, B.C., Kalyanpur, A., Katz, Y.: Pellet: A practical owl-dl reasoner. Web Semantics: Science, Services and Agents on the World Wide Web 5(2), 51–53 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Carroll, J.J., Dickinson, I., Dollin, C., Reynolds, D., Seaborne, A., Wilkinson, K.: Jena: implementing the semantic web recommendations, pp. 74–83 (2004)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Androjena. Jena android porting (2010),
  16. 16.
    Bizer, C., Heath, T., Berners-Lee, T.: Linked data-the story so far. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems 5(3), 1–22 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    TS ETSI. 102 221:” uicc-terminal interface: Physical and logical characteristics”. ETSI Standard (2010)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Urien, P.: Internet card, a smart card as a true internet node. Computer Communications 23(17), 1655–1666 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kifer, M.: Rif overview. W3C Working Group Note (2010)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johann Vincent
    • 1
  • Christine Porquet
    • 1
  • Maroua Borsali
    • 1
  • Harold Leboulanger
    • 1
  1. 1.GREYC Laboratory, ENSICAEN - CNRSUniversity of Caen-Basse-NormandieCaenFrance

Personalised recommendations