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An Access Control Framework for Multi-User Collaborative Environments

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Association for Computing Machinery


A vital component of any application or environment is security, and yet this is often one of the lower priorities, losing out to performance and functionality issues, if it is considered at all. This paper considers a spatial approach to enabling, understanding and managing access control that is generally applicable across a range of collaborative environments and applications. Access control is governed according to the space within which subjects and objects reside, and the ability to traverse space to get close to an object. We present a framework that enables the SPACE access model [4], previously presented as an access model solely for collaborative virtual environments, to be applied across a number of collaborative systems. This framework is exemplified through mappings of the model to 3D and 2D collaborative environments, namely Spline [1], TeamRooms [19] and Orbit [16]. One particularly interesting feature of the model is the way in which it handles group access by considering how group credentials are determined. These credentials are presented to the model in the usual manner. We conclude by presenting some limitations of our approach, and workarounds.


Bullock, Adrian; Benford, Steve (1999): An Access Control Framework for Multi-User Collaborative Environments. Proceedings of the 1999 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/320297.320313. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 140–149. Phoenix, Arizona, USA