Invited talk - Semantics for Privacy, Security and Context
Tim FininProfessor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
Last year Bruce Schneier’s article “The Internet is a surveillance state” summarised the state of Internet privacy as “Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we've ended up here with hardly a fight”. A couple of months later, Snowden shocked the world when he revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) were tracking online communication in a large scale surveillance programme known as PRISM. This was quickly followed by revelations that other countries were running similar covert operations. One year on and the story is still making headline news. Just this month, Tim Berners-Lee called on the world to take a stand against surveillance on the web. His suggestion is a global digital "bill of rights" similar to the Magna Carta.The stage is set for a thrilling debate on the right to privacy and what actions should be taken to protect this right online. Technical Co-Sponsored by IEEE UK and Ireland SSIT Chapter and the CityPulse Project, this year’s workshop aims to build on last years event by growing the community of individuals actively working on the topic and by promoting discussion beyond the technical aspects, building on aforementioned current events. It aims to capture the intersection between society, policy and technology, for example by debating the need and foundation for a global digital "bill of rights" similar to the Magna Carta as suggested by Tim Berners-Lee.
Bruce Schneier’s article “The Internet is a surveillance state” summarises the state of Internet privacy in its concluding paragraphs:
“So, we're done. Welcome to a world where Google knows exactly what sort of porn you all like, and more about your interests than your spouse does. Welcome to a world where your cell phone company knows exactly where you are all the time. Welcome to the end of private conversations, because increasingly your conversations are conducted by e-mail, text, or social networking sites. And welcome to a world where all of this, and everything else that you do or is done on a computer, is saved, correlated, studied, passed around from company to company without your knowledge or consent; and where the government accesses it at will without a warrant. Welcome to an Internet without privacy, and we've ended up here with hardly a fight.”
Mere months after Schneier’s article, the Snowden revelations made the world sit up and take notice. It was already widely known that the NSA had been collecting the telephone records of millions of telephone customers in bulk. Snowden’s revelations uncovered details of an Internet surveillance program called PRISM, which showed the NSA had obtained direct access to the systems of nine Internet companies, including Google, Facebook, and Apple. The months that followed included a stream of revelations of other internet surveillance programs such as MUSCULAR, XKeyscore and Tempora, as well as the bulk collection of US and European telephone metadata, and large scale data analytics over the collected data.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Tim Berners-Lee called for the online community to take action:
“In front of us are two roads - which way are we going to go?
Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control - more and more surveillance?
Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the world wide web and say, actually, now it's so important, so much part of our lives, that it becomes on a level with human rights?"
We (the Semantic Web community) are responsible for the conception of technologies that enable large scale integration and mining of personal and public information in all domains of society. We are part of the problem therefore we should be part of the solution.
To date the focus has been on researching specific privacy and security models and frameworks, for example for access control, obfuscation, anonymization, aggregation, licensing, etc. However, we are “putting the cart before the horse”, we are proposing technical solutions without fully understanding the requirements. When it comes to privacy online there are many open questions which remain unanswered:
The goals of the workshop can be summarised as follows:
A number of Semantic Web researchers are actively working on technological solutions for security and privacy of both data and semantic data. However, we explicitly aim to broaden the participation in this workshop, reflecting the growing importance and impact semantic technologies have. Given the broader context of this workshop, it will appeal not only to the usual ISWC audience but but also to other groups. Notably we aim to attract policy makers, lawyers and researchers with an interest in the societal impact of technology. Furthermore we expect interest from a number of different application domains such as healthcare, financial, and ebusiness where privacy is an important topic.
The topics of this workshop are different from previous workshops and events which were usually focused on technology and inspired by current societal events and trends. This workshop aims to capture the intersection between society, policy and technology, for example by debating the need and foundation for a global digital "bill of rights" similar to the Magna Carta as suggested by Tim Berners-Lee. Therefore we have structured the topics in three main areas as follows.
Society and privacy
Legal and policy perspective of privacy
Contributions to the workshop can be made in terms of papers and reports as well as position papers addressing different issues of the stated topics of interest.
Extended versions of the best ISWC workshop papers will be considered for publication in the Journal on Data Semantics.
Piero Bonatti, Universita di Napoli Federico II, Italy
Ernesto Damiani, University of Milan, Italy
Tim Finin, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, United States
RV Guha, Google
Vinay Gupta, ISRS, University College London, UK
Harry Halpin, W3C
Lalana Kagal, CSAIL, MIT, Cambridge, United States
Alessandra Mileo, DERI, NUI Galway, Ireland
Wolfgang Nejdl, L3S Research Center, Hannover, Germany
Ian Niles, Microsoft
Inah Omoronyia, University of Glasgow, UK
Alexandre Passant, Seevl, Ireland
Axel Polleres, Institute for Information Business, WU Wien, Austria
Ravi Sandhu, University of Texas at San Antonio, United States
Daniel Schwabe, PUC Rio, Brazil
Henry Story, Apache
John Taysom, 2012 Senior Fellow ALI, Harvard University, UK
Keerthi Thomas,The Open University, UK
Evelyne Viegas, Microsoft
Serena Villata, INRIA Sophia Antipolis, France
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