Context-Aware Privacy and Sharing Control in Collaborative Mobile Applications

Context-Aware Privacy and Sharing Control in Collaborative Mobile Applications

Ahmad Kamran Malik (Vienna University of Technology, Austria), Atif Manzoor (Vienna University of Technology, Austria) and Schahram Dustdar (Vienna University of Technology, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-655-1.ch025


Mobile applications are being used in every field of life. Latest advances in mobile computing technology and applications make it a new level of communication proxy for its users. Despite their power as personalized service provider and an internet connected computing device, mobile systems have their inherent limitations, like small display area and limited power and memory, which must be handled in mobile-based applications. Context-awareness is being used to cope with the limitations of mobile systems and is an important area of recent research on mobile and ubiquitous system. Context plays a fundamental role in awareness applications. Activities of mobile users can be monitored by the context provided through sensors connected with user and her environment. One of the basic requirements in context-aware mobile applications is privacy and sharing control in Collaborative Working Environment (CWE). Sharing control, in the authors’ system, is the distributed and dynamic control of sharing policies and information being shared. Dynamic nature of context is helpful in making automated decisions based on the current situation, for example, dynamic adaptation of level of context information being shared among collaborating users, dynamic adaptation of sharing control decisions, and dynamic adaptation of rules for sharing control.
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2. Mobile-Based Collaborative Working Environments

Collaborative working environment (CWE) is one of the most demanding areas for mobile applications where distributed users having mobile devices collaborate to achieve a common goal. With the advancement of distributed systems and pervasive computing devices, new opportunities and challenges arise in the area of context-based collaborative systems development. Context sharing in dynamic CWE is important for knowing the current state of collaborative tasks. Mobile applications are being used in CWE which may be trusted or untrusted. Users may not know each other, so they may not be willing to reveal their personal context and data to anonymous users. There is a need for methods and applications which preserve user's privacy without affecting the collaborative task. A description of access control systems for collaborative environments is presented in (Tolone et al., 2005). A study about CWE presented in (Skopik et al., 2008) shows that security, open standards, and open source software are considered critical issues in CWE applications. It also shows that mobility is an important requirement for CWE; so that users can work from anywhere, having any device. In addition, the support for mobility requires security, context awareness, and semantic technologies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Collaborative Mobile Applications: The applications created for CWE making use of mobile-based devices for communication and sharing information among collaborating users.

Collaborative Working Environment (CWE): A distributed and dynamic environment in which users work for one or more teams and enterprises, collaborate for achieving a common goal.

Context-Based Access Control: In this type of access control access control policies can be dynamically evaluated and adapted using context-based conditions.

Context-Aware System: Uses context data taken from various types of sensors to create awareness about user and her environment, and can use context for various purposes including sharing of context information, context-based access control and, context-based adaptation.

Dynamic Collaborations: Dynamic collaborations are the temporary collaboration in which users can join and leave the teams whenever needed.

Sharing Control: Describes two purposes: Firstly, it is distributed and dynamic control of sharing policies among user and her enterprise, and secondly, it describes owner-based control of the information being shared.

Owner-Based Privacy: Owner-based control of her privacy and sharing control rules for her personal information being shared with other users.

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