Ajayi, Oluwafemi O.
Dynamic trust negotiation for decentralised e-health collaborations.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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In the Internet-age, the geographical boundaries that have previously impinged upon inter-organisational collaborations have become decreasingly important. Of more importance for such collaborations is the notion and subsequent nature of security and trust - this is especially so in open collaborative environments like the Grid where resources can be both made available, subsequently accessed and used by remote users from a multitude of institutions with a variety of different privileges spanning across the collaboration. In this context, the ability to dynamically negotiate and subsequently enforce security policies driven by various levels of inter-organisational trust is essential.
Numerous access control solutions exist today to address aspects of inter-organisational security. These include the use of centralised access control lists where all collaborating partners negotiate and agree on privileges required to access shared resources. Other solutions involve delegating aspects of access right management to trusted remote individuals in assigning privileges to their (remote) users. These solutions typically entail negotiations and delegations which are constrained by organisations, people and the static rules they impose. Such constraints often result in a lack of flexibility in what has been agreed; difficulties in reaching agreement, or once established, in subsequently maintaining these agreements. Furthermore, these solutions often reduce the autonomous capacity of collaborating organisations because of the need to satisfy collaborating partners demands. This can result in increased security risks or reducing the granularity of security policies.
Underpinning this is the issue of trust. Specifically trust realisation between organisations, between individuals, and/or between entities or systems that are present in multi-domain authorities. Trust negotiation is one approach that allows and supports trust realisation. The thesis introduces a novel model called dynamic trust negotiation (DTN) that supports n-tier negotiation hops for trust realisation in multi-domain collaborative environments with specific focus on e-Health environments. DTN describes how trust pathways can be discovered and subsequently how remote security credentials can be mapped to local security credentials through trust contracts, thereby bridging the gap that makes decentralised security policies difficult to define and enforce. Furthermore, DTN shows how n-tier negotiation hops can limit the disclosure of access control policies and how semantic issues that exist with security attributes in decentralised environments can be reduced. The thesis presents the results from the application of DTN to various clinical trials and the implementation of DTN to Virtual Organisation for Trials of Epidemiological Studies (VOTES). The thesis concludes that DTN can address the issue of realising and establishing trust between systems or agents within the e-Health domain, such as the clinical trials domain.
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