Sensor networks privacy
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SENSOR NETWORKS & PRIVACY. Pamela Samuelson, UC Berkeley, Securing Privacy Conference, March 13, 2004. SENSOR NETWORKS. Considerable amount of R&D underway to develop tiny computers equipped with radio capabilities to sense physical phenomena and transmit data to processing points

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Sensor networks privacy l.jpg


Pamela Samuelson, UC Berkeley,

Securing Privacy Conference,

March 13, 2004

Securing Privacy Conference

Sensor networks l.jpg

  • Considerable amount of R&D underway to develop tiny computers equipped with radio capabilities to sense physical phenomena and transmit data to processing points

  • Wide array of application domains: smart buildings that can detect internal structural damage or adjust light & heat settings, measuring weather/water info on GG Bridge/redwood trees, monitoring activities of the elderly, sensing for bioterrorism weapons

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • Making tiny processors capable of deployment in wide array of applications (buildings, forests, animals, whatever)

  • Designing ways to generate and preserve power for sensors and transmitting data

  • Transmission protocols, radio transmitters

  • Tiny operating system programs, security

  • Database designs for processing sensed data

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • Center for Information Technology Research in the Interests of Society at UC Berkeley

  • Technologists designing sensor and sensor network technologies are aware that deployment of such technologies raise privacy and other policy concerns

  • Deirdre Mulligan & I have begun work with EECS Professors David Culler, Joe Hellerstein, & David Wagner on privacy & sensor network issues

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • Technologists want quick and certain answers

    • Want to submit query about how law applies, have it processed, & get right answer as output

    • Have a sense that there may be a short window for developing right technology policy

  • Lawyers have to educate technologists about different modality of law, and need to know fair amount about the technology & how it will be deployed before able to assess how law applies

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • Many applications for deploying sensor networks involve collecting personally identifiable information (PII)

    • Sensing persons in building as part of embedded sensors for disaster preparedness

    • Monitoring activities of the elderly so they can safely live at home

    • FastTRAK devices being read at more than toll booths

  • No law as such on this new domain, but wouldn’t it be nice if fair information practices applied?

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • Limitations on collection of data (only what need); destroy data after need is fulfilled

  • Right to collect data for specific purpose only; if want to reuse for other purpose, you have to get new permission

  • Notice and consent

  • Right of access to check data

  • Obligations to keep data accurate, secure

  • Accountability if screw up

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • Data collection is norm, may be always on

  • Absence of cues indicating data is being collected

  • Porous barriers between public and private spaces

  • Everyone is a potential data collector

  • New kinds of data being sensed, created, stored

  • Increased ability to create patterns, knowledge out of seemingly unrevealing bits of data

  • Once data has been collected, reuse may be easy to do, but difficult to detect and hence to regulate

  • May not be feasible to enable access to PII to ensure integrity (lots of sensor network data will be lousy)

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • US v. Miller: persons have no protectable privacy interest in data about them held by third parties (e.g., bank records of individual accounts)

  • Kyllo v. US: use of heat-sensing technology violated 4th A because reasonable expectation of privacy in home, & such technology not in general public use

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • May be possible to design privacy-sensitive technology

    • Encrypt PII so can only be used for one purpose?

    • Use authentication/access control systems?

    • Store data only where security can be strong?

    • Aggregate data to anonymize? Hide mapping?

    • Don’t log or flush out data when no longer needed?

    • Give users ability to turn sensors off? detector devices?

  • Adapt FIPs for sensor networks? New laws?

Securing Privacy Conference

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  • May be possible to build and deploy sensor networks in socially responsible way

  • Worth thinking about whether possible to develop new FIPs for sensor networks, and what role for technology, what role for law?

  • Law will certainly kick in when disputes arise or some flagrant, well-publicized abuse occurs

  • Good idea to think about legal framework before problems start arising

Securing Privacy Conference