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DataSpace MIT Decentralized Information Group. Tim Berners-LeeDanny Weitzner Lalana KagalGerry Sussman Hal Abelson Visitors : Joe Pato (HP)Latanya Sweeney (CMU) Collaborators : Joan Feigenbaum (Yale) Jim Hendler & Deb McGuinness (RPI) Wendy Hall & Nigel Shadbolt (Southampton).

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DataSpace MIT Decentralized Information Group

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DataSpaceMIT Decentralized Information Group

Tim Berners-LeeDanny Weitzner

Lalana KagalGerry Sussman

Hal Abelson


Joe Pato (HP)Latanya Sweeney (CMU)


Joan Feigenbaum (Yale)

Jim Hendler & Deb McGuinness (RPI)

Wendy Hall & Nigel Shadbolt (Southampton)

Policy Awareness on the World-Wide Web

  • Problem:

    • Maintaining data use policies (privacy, security, ownership, compliance) becomes infeasible as data bases become increasingly interconnected via the Web

  • Idea

    • Tag information on the web with metadata that expresses policy

    • Use Semantic Web infrastructure so that metadata schemes are open an extensible

    • Develop rules and reasoning mechanisms that check for adherence with policy

    • Evaluate policies with reference to user preferences, user data, Web data, operating context

  • Benefits

    • Enables flexible, decentralized approach to policy management

    • Permits local control (vs. global authorities)

    • Can deal with contexts where access control is insufficient.

Information Accountability:

When information has been used, it should to possible to determine what happened, and to pinpoint use that is inappropriate

Augmenting information architecture to support accountability

  • Information is annotated with provenance that identifies its source.

  • Data transfers and uses are logged so that chains of transfers have audit trails

  • Databases and data providers supply machine-readable policies that govern permissible uses of the data.

  • Automated reasoning engines use policies to determine whether data use is appropriate.

  • Reasoning preserves context information and justifications supported by truth-maintenance systems.

  • As data items are combined, the usage rules governing the combinations are automatically deduced by means of a data-purpose algebra

  • Users of manipulate information via policy-aware interfaces that can enforce policies and/or signal non-compliant uses.

UseCase: Sharing of Data in Fusion Centers

  • Sender: Mia Analysa of Commonwealth Fusion Center

  • Data: Request for Information regarding Robert Guy

  • Receiver: Fedd Agenti of DHS

  • Is this allowed under policies of involved parties ?

Policy reasoning result in Justification UI

Exploring Policy Reasoning Results

AIR: A Policy Language for Usage Rules

:Rule1 a air:Belief-rule;

air:variable :U2;

air:variable :P2;

air:variable :AP;

air:label "FirstAIRRule";



:U2 a air:UseEvent;

:refers-to [ a mit:ProxCardEvent ];

:purpose P2;

:UseEvent :allowed-purposes :AP.

:P2 is-member-of :AP


air:assert { :U2 :validPurpose :P2 }.

DSpace @ MIT enforces privacy policy at

@prefix : <> .

@prefix action: <> .

@prefix constraint: <> .


:CU0002UserPrivacy a policy:Policy;

policy:context :MITLibrariesPrivacyPolicy;

policy:grants :UserProvdePersonalInfo;

policy:grants :UsePersonalInfo;

policy:grants :DoNotDisclosePersonalInfo;

policy:grants :DoRemovePersonalInfo .

:UserProvidePersonalInfo a deontic:Obligation;

deontic:actor :varPerson;

deontic:action :ProvidePersonalInfo;

deontic:context :EventParticipationAndAlertSubscription;

policy:desc "DSpace requires users to provide personal information if they:

1. are involved in the submission of DSpace content and metadata

2. subscribe to the DSpace alerting service" .

:ProvidePersonalInfo a action:Action;

a history:ModifyMetadata;

action:actor :varPerson;

action:target :varPersonInfo;

policy:desc "Provide Personal Information is the act of

supplying the metadata recorded as an EPerson's object in DSpace.".

A snippet of DSpace policy, expressed in REI

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