MIT-KIT Mission Statement (slides)
How can people, organizations, and computers manage access to their data more equitably than we ever have before?
The Mission of the MIT-KIT is to develop the basic building blocks for the Internet's emerging personal data ecosystem in which people, organizations, and computers can manage access to their data more efficiently and equitably.
Today the Internet faces the problem of equity of access to data and resources on the Internet. Data about individuals and organizations are collected on a large scale and mined for quality information. However, individuals are not empowered to control access to their personal data. Similarly, organizations who may wish to share data about their members are faced with numerous security and privacy problems.
Paradoxically this trend is matched by the increasing desire for individuals to share personal data in social networks, and for organizations to share information about their members and network participants.
Individual-Centric control over personal data
Individuals seek to have a person-centric control over their personal data, as well as transparency into the motion of data relating to them. Organizations seek to expand their reach by cross-organizational sharing of de-identified data in a manner that reduces business friction and support market efficiencies.
The complexity of the personal data ecosystem is further nuanced by evolving regulatory developments that impact personal data in varying degrees. The US Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights introduces several important aspects into the ecosystem, such as individual control, transparency, consumer right of access and accountability. Similarly, in the European Union the EU Data Protection Directive protects individuals with regard to the processing of their personal data and on the free movement of such data. The recent National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) points to several principals that are fundamental to establishing an trustworthy identity ecosystem and which can scale globally. Many these regulatory developments are pre-conditioned on the availability of technologies that can address their mandates.
MIT has a long history of innovation and invention, across multidisciplinary areas as well as cross-cultural and intergenerational. Both are the result of the strong belief that knowledge, effort, and energy can solve any problems faced by humanity today and in the future.
MIT is also an early pioneer is cryptography and computer security. The Kerberos authentication software represents a major a milestone in the history of computing. It was invented to solve the problem of distributed authentication within the influential MIT Project Athena. MIT was an early pioneer in open-source software, with the Kerberos software being distributed under the then-revolutionary "MIT License".
Building on this MIT world-class reputation the MIT-KIT seeks to use its expertise and knowledge-base to develop new technological building blocks that underlie the emerging personal data ecosystem. The virtuous combination of these building blocks allow scalable solutions to be devised to address the issues related to personal data: namely identity management & authentication, authorization & consent management, data security, data mining & privacy-preservation, and digital death & meaningful archiving.
Equity of access to data and resources on the Internet is core to the survival of the US and World economies going into the 21st Century. As the Internet increasingly becomes the virtual medium where social groups and group-forming networks (GFN) emerge following Reed's law, voluntary sharing of data by individuals becomes an economic imperative that must be addressed by technological building blocks that respect human rights.
In the same way that the 25 year history of MIT Kerberos has profoundly influenced the way individuals perform authentication in their daily life, the MIT-KIT seeks to develop new solutions whose positive impact can last beyond the next generation of users of the Internet.