Check out the new USENIX Web site.

USENIX, The Advanced Computing Systems Association

1st USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Security

Pp. 45–50 of the Proceedings

Privacy as an Operating System Service

Sotiris Ioannidis, Stevens Institute of Technology; Stelios Sidiroglou and Angelos D. Keromytis, Columbia University


The issue of electronic privacy has of late attracted considerable attention. The proliferation of Internet services and, perhaps unavoidably, Internet crime, in conjunction with expanded government monitoring of communications has caused irreparable damage to the basic definition of privacy (the state or condition of being free from unwanted surveillance).

Implementing privacy in personal computer systems has traditionally been the domain of the paranoid computer specialist. In order for basic privacy to become pervasive among the non-technical user base, we believe that it must imitate the usage of other successful security (and other) services. Services like filesystem encryption, email and web security are successful because they are invisible to the user. Other services (not related to security) such as backups, networking, file searching, etc., also gain traction by being well integrated with the user's operating environment. In most cases, this means embedding such services in the OS.

In this work, we propose a new paradigm for implementing privacy, as an operating system service. We believe that privacy, similarly to other security services, is a service that has cross-application appeal and must therefore be centrally positioned.

  • View the full text of this paper in PDF.
    Click here if you have forgotten your password Until July 2007, you will need your USENIX membership identification in order to access the full papers. The Proceedings are published as a collective work, © 2006 by the USENIX Association. All Rights Reserved. Rights to individual papers remain with the author or the author's employer. Permission is granted for the noncommercial reproduction of the complete work for educational or research purposes. USENIX acknowledges all trademarks within this paper.

  • If you need the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader, you can download it from Adobe's site.
To become a USENIX Member, please see our Membership Information.

Last changed: 4 Aug. 2006 ch