enClosure: Group Communication via Encounter Closures

Abstract

New applications enabled by personal smart devices and the Internet-of-Things (IoT) require communication in the context of periods of spatial co-location. Examples of this encounter-based communication (EbC) include social exchange among individuals who shared an experience, and interaction among personal and IoT devices that provide location-based services. Existing EbC systems are limited to communication among participants that share a direct encounter. This paper is inspired by two insights: (1) encounters also enable group communication among devices connected bypaths in the encounter graph that is contextual, spontaneous, secure, and does not require users to reveal identifying or linkable information; and(2) addressing communication partners using encounter closures subject to causal, spatial, and temporal constraints enables powerful new forms of group communication. We present the design of enClosure, a service providing group communication based on encounter closures for mobile and IoT applications, and a prototype implementation for Android and the Microsoft Embedded Social Cloud platform. Using real-world traces, we show that enClosure provides a privacy-preserving, secure platform for a wide range of group communication applications rangingfrom connecting attendees of a large event and virtual guest books to disseminating health risk warnings, lost-and-found, and tracing missing persons.

Publication
Proceedings of the 17th Annual International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys ‘19)