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privacy and open data

From: Story Henry <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2008 11:12:07 +0100
Message-Id: <5D8E6844-7021-4006-B35B-B26313BA6BD4@bblfish.net>
To: foaf-dev Friend of a <foaf-dev@lists.foaf-project.org>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
Dear Semantic Web community,

	We are looking for a way to solve some simple privacy problem in RDF.  
We have explored this previously on the foaf list [1], but would like  
to have the input from the larger community on this issue as the  
problem is a generic one beyond the bounds of foaf.

We have a simple use case. Foaf allows its users to create open  
distributed social networks. This is a addressing a real problem 100s  
of millions of people are going to be wanting solved in the near  
future. But currently all the data is open for all to see. This is ok  
for us researchers, but many people would like some of their  
information to be available to select groups of individuals. I know  
many for example who are happy to publish information about their  
professional life, but would rather their family network remain  
available only to their family.

What is needed now is a way to also enable people to limit who can see  
what information about them, in a way compatible with the constraints  
of REST and Linked Data. I can think of a couple of methods:

   1. either return different representations of the requested  
resource depending on who is viewing the information
   2. have different resources be responsible for different subsets of  
the data and create rdf:seeAlso links between them. Some of these  
resources would only be accessible to certain user agents (UA).

In both cases there has to be some way of identifying the authority of  
the UA. As OpenId is easy to understand, let us use that for the  
moment. So as an example one could develop an rdf vocabulary to say  
the following [2][4]

<public> rdfs:seeAlso <protected> .

<protected> readableBy SomeGroup;
             login [ = </login>;
                     a OpenidLoginService ].

SomeGroup could be defined for example as being all the friends of  
one's friends with openids specified by their foaf file (see the work  
done by DIG [3])

Is there a working group developing such a vocabulary already? Is  
there a standard here we should develop upon?

Given that this information is to be read by new types of UserAgents  
that need to be limited by the functionality of current web browsers,  
it is also quite possible to imagine much simpler protocols than  
openid. Off the top of my head I thought of a way of using foaf ids,  
linked to foaf files, linked to pgp keys to create a much quicker,  
cleaner and resource oriented authentication method. see [2]

It  seems to me that it should be quite easy to get something working  

	Yours sincerly,


[1] http://lists.foaf-project.org/pipermail/foaf-dev/2008-January/008793.html
[2] http://lists.foaf-project.org/pipermail/foaf-dev/2008-January/008820.html
[3] http://dig.csail.mit.edu/breadcrumbs/node/206
[4]  Note that 1. is really a special case of 2. where there is only  
one resource that returns different representations depending on the  
authority of the user agent.

<> readableBy SomeGroup;
    login [ = </login>;
            a OpenidLoginService ].

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Received on Tuesday, 25 March 2008 10:12:58 UTC

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