Privacy and Contextual Integrity: Framework and Applications

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CitationProceedings of the 27th IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, IEEE Computer Society, 2006.
AuthorsAdam Barth
Anupam Datta
John C. Mitchell
Helen Nissenbaum


Contextual integrity is a conceptual framework for understanding privacy expectations and their implications developed in the literature on law, public policy, and political philosophy. We formalize some aspects of contextual integrity in a logical framework for expressing and reasoning about norms of transmission of personal information. In comparison with access control and privacy policy frameworks such as RBAC, EPAL, and P3P, these norms focus on who personal information is about, how it is transmitted, and past and future actions by both the subject and the users of the information. Norms can be positive or negative depending on whether they refer to actions that are allowed or disallowed. Our model is expressive enough to capture naturally many notions of privacy found in legislation, including those found in HIPAA, COPPA, and GLBA. A number of important problems regarding compliance with privacy norms, future requirements associated with specific actions, and relations between policies and legal standards reduce to standard decision procedures for temporal logic.

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