New Protocol in Development for Tracking Private Data
A primary concern for the Internet is keeping it secure, which is why so many security systems and protocols have been developed. As we have been seeing of late though, many of these protocols are less secure than we thought. Researchers at MIT however are working on a new protocol that has a different focus; accountability.
Named HTTP with Accountability, or HTTPA, this protocol will track how private data is used, to prevent and expose misuse. All data would be given a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) to facilitate its tracking. If URI were deployed to the entire Internet, it would transform it from something like a collection of text files to a database. Using the URI, all transactions of the data could be tracked on a network, likely with special-purpose, secure servers, and with the data would be a set of restrictions. Whenever someone with the proper permissions would submit changes to the data, instead of the original data being changed, a derived record would be generated. If someone chose to audit their personal data, information on all of its transactions and its derivatives would be presented to them. To help keep the transaction data secure from corruption and manipulation, the researchers have built in distributed hash tables, like those used in peer-to-peer networks.
According to the researchers, adopting HTTPA would not be difficult for a website. Given the researchers connections to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) that develops HTTP, XML, and CSS, that assertion can likely be believed.