Last Wednesday I went to visit my partial sponsors of my PhD, Vodafone. I went to meet my industrial supervisor and try to tell them what it was I’ve been working on for the last three months. The journey down was fine until I hit Junction 9 of the M40 and had to queue for 30 minutes, next time I think I will get the train. Driving is 1h30m and the train is 2h, but with a queue like that it it really isn’t any different, and is much less hassle.

I had a very enjoyable time and spoke with many people there, and had fun talking about what it was like working at Vodafone with a masters student who was working there called Tom. After explaining what I had been doing it was suggested that I ought to look at working on a wider problem using distributed identity management. This is just an abstraction of my previous model where the user information is shared to an advertiser, in this case the advertisers turn into service providers which not only want to know things about you, but they also have information about you which has been gathered and they are able to share it with each other using your over-arching profile.

Obviously a user wouldn’t want services arbitrarily sharing personal information about themselves with each other, so the identity provider sits in the middle and determines what the information flow should be. The provider is able to perform this by analysing abstract user preferences provided and determining what the user will get out of providing this information to the service. There will be three outcomes from the analysis, either share the information, obfuscate the information or confirm with the user, which has the options to share, obfuscate or deny information. This user decision is then stored for future decisions (i.e. extend the users preferences). This system could be implemented by advertisers and therefore can be used as I was originally considering, but can also be extended for more useful user services.

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