Personal Data Management Systems: The security and functionality standpoint

Nicolas Anciaux, Philippe Bonnet, Luc Bouganim, Benjamin Nguyen, Philippe Pucheral, Iulian Sandu Popa, Guillaume Scerri

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Riding the wave of smart disclosure initiatives and new privacy-protection regulations, the Personal Cloud paradigm is emerging through a myriad of solutions offered to users to let them gather and manage their whole digital life. On the bright side, this opens the way to novel value-added services when crossing multiple sources of data of a given person or crossing the data of multiple people. Yet this paradigm shift towards user empowerment raises fundamental questions with regards to the appropriateness of the functionalities and the data management and protection techniques which are offered by existing solutions to laymen users. These questions must be answered in order to limit the risk of seeing such solutions adopted only by a handful of users and thus leaving the Personal Cloud paradigm to become no more than one of the latest missed attempts to achieve a better regulation of the management of personal data. To this end, we review, compare and analyze personal cloud alternatives in terms of the functionalities they provide and the threat models they target. From this analysis, we derive a general set of functionality and security requirements that any Personal Data Management System (PDMS) should consider. We then identify the challenges of implementing such a PDMS and propose a preliminary design for an extensive and secure PDMS reference architecture satisfying the considered requirements. Finally, we discuss several important research challenges remaining to be addressed to achieve a mature PDMS ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Systems
Pages (from-to)13-35
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


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