For major corporations, protecting individuals’ privacy when using data is a key business process. One international player, Nokia, is working with the University of Brighton to help manage this complex area.
Every time we use a mobile phone, our location is recorded. Originally, this was necessary to enable the cellular communications system to work properly. Today, however, our location is a valuable piece of commercial data, used to direct us to the nearest coffee shop or to tell us which motorway exit to take.
Ensuring individuals’ privacy is protected is a business-critical task and telecoms giant Nokia recognised that research being undertaken by the University of Brighton led by Professor John Howse, could give them a competitive advantage. Today, diagrammatic logics, automated diagram drawing and theorem proving are producing effective and accessible privacy protection models for the company.
“We worked with Nokia first on ontology design,’ said Dr Gem Stapleton, “we developed ways to share data infrastructure across different software and hardware platforms. Concept diagrams have helped Nokia design ontologies – frameworks for organising information – and this will be a big growth area in the future as ontology engineering demands increase.”
Concept diagrams can take many forms, but at heart they are a way of communicating more simply and more visually. Nokia’s challenge is to bridge different language and technical backgrounds to make sure that everyone involved in collecting and using personal data is aware of the rules that affect them, their colleagues and their customers.
Privacy engineering in the telecommunications sector is a complex task. Not only are millions of new pieces of data created every second, as a global business Nokia deals with scores of different legal jurisdictions with staff fluent in all of the world’s major languages. As a high-tech company, it also employs professionals in many fields, all of whom speak their own technical language.