Tuesday, April 11, 2006

GeoPriv - Geographic Location Privacy Protocol

With location specific information and services becoming widely available, the privacy and restriction of these data becomes very important. GeoPriv is a transfer protocol (in development) aimed at authorizing the delivery of and rendering location specific information.

The basics of this protocol, as I understand it, is an authorization system built from a rule set (policy) which is composed of Conditions, Actions, and Transformations. This policy is stored as an XML document or in a relational database on the location server. The Condition segment of this policy is a set of expressions that are based on certain variables, such as requester identification, server information, and external variables derived from the location itself. These expressions are interpreted as TRUE or FALSE and the Action of PERMIT is granted if the conditions are met. Lastly, the Transformation is an algorithm with defines the resolution at which locational information will be delivered. The transformation combines the union of the permissions to define the requesters level of accuracy. These transformations, as well as the entire policy is intended to be extensible for specific application use.

It appears that the implementation of this protocol could be useful in displaying location sensitive archaeological sites. As I mentioned in a previous post, archaeological site location is highly guarded by both the state government and the archaeologists who investigate them. The fear of looting and disturbance is often cited as the reason for such secrecy. Although, I understand these concerns, I also feel that in a time when archaeologists justify our existence with the preservation of "the Publics'" heritage, we need to loosen our death grip on where sites are so the publics can feel the same senses of place that we do. All rants aside, the GeoPriv protocol, with the use of locational transformations could be a useful tool in disseminating resolution adjusted information on site locations based on conditional rules.

I admit, I only have a general understanding of the specifics of this protocol, so please investigate it a bit (they also have a list-serv) and let me know what you think.

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