Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a new technology which will help you track down how your private data is being used online. A new protocol named “HTTPA OR HTTP with Accountability” has been designed, which will automatically invigilate the transmission of private data. The new technology will also allow the owner to know how his private data is being used in the online world.
The technology is a fruitful product of constant hard work of researchers in the decentralized information group at MIT’S Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL).
Lalana Kagal, who is a principal researcher at CSAIL and Oshani Seneviratne, who is currently an MIT graduate student in electrical engineering and computer science will put forth their paper giving an overview of HTTP with Accountability at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers conference on Privacy, Trust and Security to be held in Toronto next month.
Each item of private data would be allotted its own uniform resource identifier or URI with the usage of HTTPA. This would further lead to the conversion of the web form which is essentially a collection of searchable text files into a huge database.
The remote access to a web server would be controlled through encryption and passwords, which is the same way as it is being done currently. It would send a detailed description of the restrictions imposed on the data usage, every time the server transmitted a piece of sensitive data.
According to the researchers, an HTTP with Accountability-compliant programme also comes with some responsibilities if it reuses the data supplied by some other HTTPA complaint source.
The network of servers is basically the place where the heavy lifting takes place. If and whenever the data owner commands an audit, the server works through the huge chain of derivations and identifies all the people who have had an access to the data and it also lists what all have they done with it.
Oshani Seneviratne makes use of a technology known as distributed hash tables to distribute the transaction logs among the servers. This technology is also being used by peer-to-peer networks like Bit Torrent.
She even constructed a rudimentary health-care record system from the primary level and then filled it with data supplied by some 25 volunteers to test the whole system.