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Introducing the Open Mustard Seed Framework

A Framework for developing and deploying secure cloud applications to collect, compute on, and share personal data

  • Developer support enables rapid creation of cloud based private social mobile applications
  • Secured access using OpenID Connect
  • Modular structure of service APIs and access control defined using legal constraints
  • Automated deployment of Service Components (from hardware to complete cloud-based mobile application deployment)
  • Personal Data Service providing cloud storage and secure computation

The Open Mustard Seed project is an open-source framework for developing and deploying web apps in a secure, user-centric personal cloud. The framework provides a stack of core technologies that work together to provide a high level of security and ease of use when sharing and collecting personal and environmental data, controlling web-enabled devices, and engaging with others to aggregate information and view the results of applied computation via protected services.

The scope of this effort is largely driven by the needs of the Trust Framework architecture for personal data ecosystems being developed at ID3.

Overall, the project aims to contribute a layer of software and methodology for the development, deployment, and management of user-centric, data-intensive, and distributed cloud applications and services.

Developer Resources

Roadmap, Release Notes, Orientation, Guidelines, and Experimental

For developers contributing to OMS: click here.

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Complete Quickstart, System-Level Architecture, Documentation, and Tutorials

For developers using OMS to develop apps: click here.

Reinventing Big Data

OMS solves a number of interrelated problems about Big Data. Users have not had an easy or reliable means to express their preferences for how their personal data may be accessed and used, especially when one context (a bank) differs so much from another (a healthcare provider) and still others (family and friends). A user may not know with whom they are really transacting, nor can they readily verify that their privacy preferences are actually respected and enforced. Users are often wary of exposing or sharing their data with third parties whose trustworthiness is not known. In this context, it is not surprising that protecting one’s personal information is seen as antithetical to commercial and governmental uses of it.

The Open Mustard Seed project seeks to overcome these problems through a technical architecture called the “Trustworthy Compute Framework” (TCF). The TCF extends the core functionality of “Personal Data Stores” (PDS) - digital repositories in the cloud that let users strictly control their personal information - by enabling online users to interact flexibly in secure, trustworthy ways. The system architecture uses nested tiers of “trusted compute cells” starting at the “private” level and moving up to portal and group levels. The idea is to enable trusted social relationships and collaboration that can scale. Each Trusted Compute Cell (TCC) - the basic unit of individual control over data - enables users to curate their digital personas; manage the data that they collect, produce and distribute; manage privacy settings for the various social scenes and commercial vendors they interact with; and manage the installation and availability of group-specific apps and services developed to be deployed within various TCF architectures.

Data Empowerment

The terms of interaction between an individual’s private TCC and any other TCC is mediated with OpenID Connect-authenticated API connections. These application programming interfaces have their terms and means of interaction and information disclosure policies specified through Trusted Application Bundles (TAB). TABs contain digital legal contracts that outline the opt-in terms of agreement for online interactions provided by the deployment of the APIs contained within the TAB’s Manifests. These agreements are subsequently enforced, on behalf of the persona- within the TCF to which the TAB instance was deployed. Furthermore, TABs specify what data may be collected, accessed, stored, how it may be used, etc.; what access control mechanisms and policies will govern data; and the “constitutional rules” by which groups may form, manage themselves, and evolve.