Data Sharing Agreements

PhD Theses: A Data Protection Architecture for Derived Data Control in Partially Disconnected Networks

Enrico Scalavino

Every organisation needs to exchange and disseminate data constantly amongst its employees, members, customers and partners. Disseminated data is often sensitive or confidential and access to it should be restricted to authorised recipients. Several enterprise rights management (ERM) systems and data protection solutions have been proposed by both academia and industry to enable usage control on disseminated data, i.e. to allow data originators to retain control over whom accesses their information, under which circumstances, and how it is used. This is often obtained by means of cryptographic techniques and thus by disseminating encrypted data that only trustworthy recipients can decrypt. Most of these solutions assume data recipients are connected to the network and able to contact remote policy evaluation authorities that can evaluate usage control policies and issue decryption keys. This assumption oversimplifies the problem by neglecting situations where connectivity is not available, as often happens in crisis management scenarios. In such situations, recipients may not be able to access the information they have received. Also, while using data, recipients and their applications can create new derived information, either by aggregating data from several sources or transforming the original data’s content or format. Existing solutions mostly neglect this problem and do not allow originators to retain control over this derived data despite the fact that it may be more sensitive or valuable than the data originally disseminated. In this thesis we propose an ERM architecture that caters for both derived data control and usage control in partially disconnected networks. We propose the use of a novel policy lattice model based on information flow and mandatory access control. Sets of policies controlling the usage of data can be specified and ordered in a lattice according to the level of protection they provide. At the same time, their association with specific data objects is mandated by rules (content verification procedures) defined in a data sharing agreement (DSA) stipulated amongst the organisations sharing information. When data is transformed, the new policies associated with it are automatically determined depending on the transformation used and the policies currently associated with the input data. The solution we propose takes into account transformations that can both increase or reduce the sensitivity of information, thus giving originators a flexible means to control their data and its derivations. When data must be disseminated in disconnected environments, the movement of users and the ad hoc connections they establish can be exploited to distribute information. To allow users to decrypt disseminated data without contacting remote evaluation authorities, we integrate our architecture with a mechanism for authority devolution, so that users moving in the disconnected area can be granted the right to evaluate policies and issue decryption keys. This allows recipients to contact any nearby user that is also a policy evaluation authority to obtain decryption keys. The mechanism has been shown to be efficient so that timely access to data is possible despite the lack of connectivity. Prototypes of the proposed solutions that protect XML documents have been developed. A realistic crisis management scenario has been used to show both the flexibility of the presented approach for derived data control and the efficiency of the authority devolution solution when handling data dissemination in simulated partially disconnected networks. While existing systems do not offer any means to control derived data and only offer partial solutions to the problem of lack of connectivity (e.g. by caching decryption keys), we have defined a set of solutions that help data originators faced with the shortcomings of current proposals to control their data in innovative, problem-oriented ways.

Argumentation-based Security for Social Good

The paper “Argumentation-based Security for Social Good” presented at the AAAI Spring Symposia 2017 is now available at the AAAI Technical Report.

Title: Argumentation-Based Security for Social Good

Authors: Erisa Karafili, Antonis C. Kakas, Nikolaos I. Spanoudakis, Emil C. Lupu

Abstract: The increase of connectivity and the impact it has in ever day life is raising new and existing security problems that are becoming important for social good. We introduce two particular problems: cyber attack attribution and regulatory data sharing. For both problems, decisions about which rules to apply, should be taken under incomplete and context dependent information. The solution we propose is based on argumentation reasoning, that is a well suited technique for implementing decision making mechanisms under conflicting and incomplete information. Our proposal permits us to identify the attacker of a cyber attack and decide the regulation rule that should be used while using and sharing data. We illustrate our solution through concrete examples.

The paper can be found in the following link:

A video of the presentation can be found in the workshop page AI for Social Good and also in following link:

An argumentation reasoning approach for data processing

The paper “An argumentation reasoning approach for data processing” is now published in the Elsevier Journal Computers in Industry.

Title: An argumentation reasoning approach for data processing

Authors: Erisa Karafili, Konstantina Spanaki, Emil C. Lupu

Abstract: Data-intensive environments enable us to capture information and knowledge about the physical surroundings, to optimise our resources, enjoy personalised services and gain unprecedented insights into our lives. However, to obtain these endeavours extracted from the data, this data should be generated, collected and the insight should be exploited. Following an argumentation reasoning approach for data processing and building on the theoretical background of data management, we highlight the importance of data sharing agreements (DSAs) and quality attributes for the proposed data processing mechanism. The proposed approach is taking into account the DSAs and usage policies as well as the quality attributes of the data, which were previously neglected compared to existing methods in the data processing and management field. Previous research provided techniques towards this direction; however, a more intensive research approach for processing techniques should be introduced for the future to enhance the value creation from the data and new strategies should be formed around this data generated daily from various devices and sources.

This work was supported by FP7 EU-funded project Coco Cloud grant no.: 610853, and EPSRC Project CIPART grant no. EP/L022729/1.

The paper can be found in the following link as Open Access:

Enabling Data Sharing in Contextual Environments: Policy Representation and Analysis

The paper “Enabling Data Sharing in Contextual Environments: Policy Representation and Analysis” was accepted at SACMAT 2017.

ACM Symposium on Access Control Models and Technologies (SACMAT 2017)

Authors: Erisa Karafili and Emil Lupu

Abstract: Internet of Things environments enable us to capture more and more data about the physical environment we live in and about ourselves. The data enable us to optimise resources, personalise services and offer unprecedented insights into our lives. However, to achieve these insights data need to be shared (and sometimes sold) between organisations imposing rights and obligations upon the sharing parties and in accordance with multiple layers of sometimes conflicting legislation at international, national and organisational levels. In this work, we show how such rules can be captured in a formal representation called “Data Sharing Agreements”. We introduce the use of abductive reasoning and argumentation based techniques to detect inconsistencies in the rules  applicable and resolve them by assigning priorities to the rules. We show how through the use of argumentation based techniques use-cases taken from real life application are handled flexibly addressing trade-offs between confidentiality, privacy, availability and safety.

Sharing Data Through Confidential Clouds: An Architectural Perspective

Cloud and mobile are two major computing paradigms that are rapidly converging. However, these models still lack a way to manage the dissemination and control of personal and business-related data. To this end, we propose a framework to control the sharing, dissemination and usage of data based on mutually agreed Data Sharing Agreements (DSAs). These agreements are enforced uniformly, and end-to-end, both on Cloud and mobile platforms, and may reflect legal, contractual or user-defined preferences. We introduce an abstraction layer that makes available the enforcement functionality across different types of nodes whilst hiding the distribution of components and platform specifics. We also discuss a set of different types of nodes that may run such a layer.

 Daniele Sgandurra, Francesco Di Cerbo, Slim Trabelsi, Fabio Martinelli, and Emil Lupu: Sharing Data Through Confidential Clouds: An Architectural PerspectiveIn proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on TEchnical and LEgal aspects of data pRivacy and SEcurity, 2015 IEEE/ACM, pp. 58-61, DOI: 10.1109/TELERISE.2015.19. Bibtex.

CoCo Cloud: Confidential and Compliant Clouds

fp7logoFP7, Partners: Hewlett-Packard, The Italian National Research Council, Imperial College London, University of Oslo, SAP, Atos, AGID, Bird & Bird, and Grupo Hospitalario Quirón.

The project aims to facilitate data sharing in cloud environments by providing end-to-end data centric security from the client to the cloud based on the (semi-)automated enforcement ofData Sharing Agreements. These agreements may reflect legal, contractual or user defined preferences, which may be conflicting and thus an appropriate balance and model for their enforcement must be found.