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    By: Jan E. Odegard

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Trust in Distributed Systems

Module by: Alex Voss. E-mail the author

Summary: Discusses the issue of trust in distributed systems, especially relating to data security.

The flipside of practical issues with authentication and authorisation is the lack of trust in the security of distributed computing systems that is often observed:

"other projects (not necessarily medical ones, but also engineering ones) where the organisations involved saw the Grid as [a] great looking solution but didn’t want their data to leave their network [...] it has happened before where companies involved didn’t want to go beyond some toy examples, despite the project being able to solve a lot grid related problems."
The lack of strong assurances about security and confidentiality in general e-Infrastructures for research means that research with sensitive data often has to be carried out in secure environments ('data enclaves'):
"if we want to link individual level data and link things like census data and council registries then we need to have names and addresses."
To date there are no generic mechanisms and organisational arrangements that make work with sensitive data possible at a reasonable cost while complying with data protection legislation and relevant regulatory regimes.

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Practical arrangements can sometimes be made that allow some processing to be carried out outside these secure settings, e.g., through the use of artificial identifiers (or pseudonyms):

"have you heard of pseudo-anonymisation where you create an ID from a name and address, for example, and then those pseudo-anonymised IDs can be [...] kept in a very secretive file."

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

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Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

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Definition of a lens

Lenses

A lens is a custom view of the content in the repository. You can think of it as a fancy kind of list that will let you see content through the eyes of organizations and people you trust.

What is in a lens?

Lens makers point to materials (modules and collections), creating a guide that includes their own comments and descriptive tags about the content.

Who can create a lens?

Any individual member, a community, or a respected organization.

What are tags? tag icon

Tags are descriptors added by lens makers to help label content, attaching a vocabulary that is meaningful in the context of the lens.

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