public access point database

Ian Stirling OpenMoko at
Wed Jul 4 17:48:57 CEST 2007

Ryan Prior wrote:
> You seem to imply that there is a technical infeasibility that cannot be 
> overcome. If the public point database were segregated by a UNIX-style 
> permissions system and connected to via SSH, wouldn't it be just about 
> as safe as any public file server or database? Files that are "shared" 
> can be accessed, files that are private stay private. A server-side 
> daemon could negotiate friends lists, proximity, and other details 
> without ever exposing private position data publicly.
> Am I missing something on the privacy front? Perhaps I just didn't grok 
> your example.

I think so.
I was simply meaning that a simple static database exporting only the 
position dumbly does not suit.

Os course SSH gives you access to the server securely.

You want something much more fine-grained than simply 'access, no access'.

Alice is my wife, I'm quite happy for her to have realtime tracking 24*7.

Bob is my brother, that gets really drunk on saturday night, I don't 
want him able to track me from Sat 6PM-Sun 12AM.

Charlie is my employer, they get to track me while I'm at work.

Dave is someone in the group 'internet friends', who can get a position 
to within 50Km at any time, so we might arrange a meeting. I do _not_ 
want him turning up on my doorstep unannounced.

I don't know Edwin, who has set his public tags to "Neo1973 
Snowboarding" and if I get within 500m of him, I want my phone to bleep, 
as these are my interests too. I should not be able to know anything 
about him until he gets within 500m - I may not even get a position for 
him, just contact details.

Fred has come into bluetooth range, and has interests that I share, so 
again I want the phone to beep or something, maybe swap musical tracks, 
do least-cost routing over his GPRS if he's got a better contract than 
me (with payment).

Georgina matches my 'dating' profile, and has come within 100m. We may 
have our phones setup to share pictures and a brief bio.

This is all quite fine-grained, with many different classes of user.

It needs more than a simple database of everyones location.

Then there is the reputation, and avoiding fake users that are simply 
setup to repeatedly wander round populous areas gathering all the 
information they can.

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