The Lucent Personalized Web Assistant
In June 1996 I launched in Bell Labs the LPWA project (initially
called the Janus project).
Together with my colleagues Eran Gabber,
Phil Gibbons, Dave Kristol, and Alain Mayer, we have developed the
Lucent Personalized Web Assistant, or LPWA,
a novel tool to enhance convenience and privacy of Web users. It
combines the seemingly conflicting paradigms of personalization and
privacy on the Web. An increasing number of Web sites offer personalized
service, e.g., "My Yahoo", "MapsOnUs", and "Investor". As a consequence,
such sites require user registration (which typically includes a username,
password, and e-mail address). While personalization offers new and exciting
possibilities for users, it also raises a number of concerns:
LPWA's goal is to offer a seamless solution to personalized browsing
enhances a user's privacy, security, convenience, and ability to
junk e-mail. LPWA generates seemingly unrelated aliases (user names,
and e-mail addresses) on a user's behalf. Alias e-mail addresses
communication from web sites back to user and allow easy, recipient
filtering. A prototype proxy service of LPWA has been running at
our LPWA site in Murray Hill, NJ
since June 1997, attracting over 100,000 users.
In 1999, the LPWA technology was the basis for a Lucent's venture called
In May, 2000, Lucent sold the LPWA/ProxyMate privacy technology to
CMGI's NaviPath, a national Internet access solutions,
in exchange for minority equity stake.
See Lucent's press
- Privacy: an e-mail address gives strong indication of a user's
using the same user name (or e-mail address) at multiple sites
creation of comprehensive dossiers.
- Account Security: using the same password at multiple web sites is
- Spamming: giving out an e-mail address to many web-sites makes it
vulnerable to spamming.
- Inconvenience: need to invent and remember many user names and
Selected LPWA media coverage
yet anonymous Web access
(with E. Gabber, P.B. Gibbons, D.M. Kristol, and A. Mayer),
Communication of the ACM, special section on Internet Privacy,
On Secure and pseudonymous client-relationships with multiple
(with E. Gabber, P.B. Gibbons, D.M. Kristol and A. Mayer),
and implementation of the Lucent Personalized Web Assistant (LPWA)
(with D.M. Kristol, E. Gabber, P.B. Gibbons, and A. Mayer), Bell Labs TR 1998.
junk e-mail via secure classification
(with E. Gabber, M. Jakobsson, and A. Mayer),
Financial Cryptography, 1998.
- How to
make personalized web browsing simple, secure, and anonymous
(with E. Gabber, P.B. Gibbons and A. Mayer),
Financial Cryptography '97.
On Secure and pseudonymous client-relationships with multiple servers
(with D. Bleichenbacher, E. Gabber, P.B. Gibbons and A. Mayer),
Proceedings of 3rd USENIX Workshop on Electronic Commerce, August/September, 1998.
- Lightweight security primitives for e-commerce
(with A. Mayer and A. Silberschatz), Proceedings USENIX
Symposium on Internet Technologies and Systems 1997.
Some of my privacy related activities