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Information Accountability - Aintno

The Aintno project provides a platform for experimenting with information accountability. It allows individuals to explore the effects of setting information usage restrictions on their social graph data.

The current demo simulates the use of public social graph data (extracted from Facebook and Flikr) by an insurance company making a policy application decision. The protagonist, Danny Digger, has been rejected for a new insurance policy due to poor dietary habits. Information on Danny's fondness for eating unhealthy foods was derived from behavior observed in pictures and other postings on social networking sites.

Scenario Overview

In this scenario, you - the interactive user - play the role of Danny Digger or his accountability advisor. The demo scenario opens with you visiting a consumer self-help web site to explore why Danny's insurance application has been denied. Aintno, the fictional insurance company, adheres to Information Accountability principles and cooperates with by allowing you to examine a justification for their decision. The justification includes an explanation of the process and references to evidence that led to the decision on the insurance application. Some of this evidence may come from data obtained from Danny's Facebook or Flikr presence. You are free to adjust data usage policies to make clear how you wish social network data to be used. Once these policies have been expressed, you can re-run the simulation to see if other data will lead Aintno to the same conclusion or if excluding use of the data changes the insurance company's decision.

You choose Aintno's behavior with respect to Information Accountability principles - you can choose to have the company honor usage restrictions, or allow the company to ignore any policy associated with the social network data. Unlike conventional access control systems, Information Accountability usage restrictions allow access to the data, but specify for which purposes that access is allowed. It is the responsibility of the data consumer to adhere to those policies and to be able to provide an accounting of how the data has been used.

Demo Guided Tour

When you first enter the demo, you arrive at a session on that is already in progress (we save you the hassle of logging in as a user authorized to investigate Danny's application).

Demo Landing Page

The initial page is open to a tabbed folder for viewing the decision on Danny's insurance application. The Investigate Decision tab is open and we are prompted to click to explore the decision. The demo also allows you to see details of evidence used to support Aintno's decision in the See Object Details tab. Usage restrictions can be set on an object used in the decision in the Object Details tab or can be applied to collections of information in the Set Usage Restrictions tab.

Starting the simulation

Initial Click point

Exploring the decision provides a structured traversal of Aintno's justification for its decision. Clicking on the prompt text invokes the decision process - Aintno uses a set of rules describing necessary conditions for policy application approval as well as conditions that result in denial of the application. Aintno considers Danny's application as well as data it retrieves from Danny's public Facebook and Flikr pages. Using the initial conditions for the demo, Aintno determines that the policy application should be rejected.

Exploring the initial decision

The display uses a familiar file explorer display model. You can expand or contract elements of the explanation by clicking on a line. If an element of the justification is supported by more detail, a [ + ] icon appears on the left of the line and you can click this to disclose the supporting information. If you would like to hide detail, click on a line that is preceded by a [ - ] icon.

The decision is explained through a series of questions and answers terminating at a set of facts that are evidence for a conclusion Aintno has made.

explanation detail

Exploring evidence  

Evidence used to support a conclusion is displayed as a simple statement in the hierarchical output. It does not have a show [ + ] or hide [ - ] detail icon. Typically, the information listed includes an active link to more detail about how that evidence was obtained. Clicking on an evidence line will open detail in another browsing tab or page. When the evidence is a picture, hovering over the picture will show some more detail which can then be further explored by clicking.

image detail box

Setting usage restrictions on evidence

Usage restrictions can be associated with information obtained from Facebook and Flikr. These restrictions use the set of use annotations developed for the Respect My Privacy project - identifying a set of purposes for which the information owner allows or disallows. The demo supports setting the full range of purposes, but only the Insurance purpose will affect the decision Aintno makes regarding Danny's application.

Restrictions can be set in two ways - in the See Object Details tab or in the Set Usage Restrictions tab. They can be set for a given image when looking at the source detail in the See Object Details tab. This tab is activated when you click for more information when hovering over an image when investigating a decision.

object details with restriction set

In the figure above, detail for one of the images showing Danny eating hotdogs is displayed. The image is also shown as a thumbnail and the set of restrictions associated with the image are displayed within braces next to the thumbnail. A portion of the menu used for setting usage restrictions is also depicted above.

Usage restrictions can also be set and viewed from the Set Usage Restrictions tab. Here you can view several collections of images obtained from albums in the social network. Restrictions can be applied to all objects viewed in this tab - simply select the check box next to the image or album name and then scroll to the restricting setting menu below and choose which purposes should be restricted.

Setting restrictions from usage restrictions tab

Honoring Restrictions

To change Aintno's behavior regarding honoring restrictions when analyzing Danny's application, select the With Usage Restrictions radio button in the upper right area of the demo page and then click on the Run Simulation button immediately above. This will bring you have to the Investigate Decision tab ready to rerun the simulation having Aintno honor the usage restrictions you have set.

setting Aintno's resrtiction honoring mode

maintained by Joe Pato
Updated: $Date: 2011-06-23 20:08:42 -0500 (Thu, 23 Jun 2011) $