User Managed Access
A research team led by Aad van Moorsel is leading work on User Managed Access (UMA) that is helping to protect vulnerable users against the misuse of sensitive data such as employment history, health or educational records.
As Aad notes, “The UK government will increasingly offer service over the Internet. The data shared in such services can be very sensitive to an individual, since it may include employment history, exam results or health information. UMA provides the technology to share such data in a safe manner, putting the citizen in control, instead of the service provider. We strongly believe that UMA will be a cornerstone for future Internet-based government services, and have therefore made our SMART software publicly available as an Open Source implementation of UMA.”
Aad’s group are leading the UMA Working Group, developing an exemplar authorisation infrustructure using UMA (SMART) and influencing Government policy through the work.
The UMA Work Group (charter of the Kantara Initiative) is formalising the UMA standard in order to develop specifications that let an individual control the authorization of data sharing and service access made between online services on the individual’s behalf. Newcastle researcher Maciej Machulak is the Vice-Chair.
Work on SMART (Student-Managed Access to Online Resources) has already won the team the prestigious IDDY award (Identity Deployment of the Year – awarded by the Kantara Initiative) in the Emerging Applications/Proof of Concept Category for 2011. Previous winners include Google, US DoD, Vodafone, NTT and Oracle. SMART has developed an exemplar authorisation infrastructure based on the User-Managed Access Web protocol and evaluate its benefits within a HE environment.
The lessons learnt within SMART for access management and the standardisation of UMA will have clear applicability in helping to support vulnerable groups interacting with services over the Internet which is a central pillar of the SiDE agenda. The work is also helping to influence policy making through discussions with the Cabinet Office.