Larry Hardesty of the MIT News Office reports, "By now, most people feel comfortable conducting financial transactions on the Web. The cryptographic schemes that protect online banking and credit card purchases have proven their reliability over decades. As more of our data moves online, a more pressing concern may be its inadvertent misuse by people authorized to access it. Every month seems to bring another story of private information accidentally leaked by governmental agencies or vendors of digital products or services. At the same time, tighter restrictions on access could undermine the whole point of sharing data. Coordination across agencies and providers could be the key to quality medical care; you may want your family to be able to share the pictures you post on a social-networking site."
Hardesty goes on, "Researchers in the Decentralized Information Group (DIG) at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) believe the solution may be transparency rather than obscurity. To that end, they’re developing a protocol they call 'HTTP with Accountability,' or HTTPA, which will automatically monitor the transmission of private data and allow the data owner to examine how it’s being used. At the IEEE’s Conference on Privacy, Security and Trust in July, Oshani Seneviratne, an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science, and Lalana Kagal, a principal research scientist at CSAIL, will present a paper that gives an overview of HTTPA and presents a sample application, involving a health-care records system that Seneviratne implemented on the experimental network PlanetLab."
Image: Courtesy MIT News Office