LPWA: 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 which enhances a user's privacy, security, convenience, and ability to suppress junk e-mail. LPWA generates seemingly unrelated aliases (user names, passwords, and e-mail addresses) on a user's behalf. Alias e-mail addresses support communication from web sites back to user and allow easy, recipient oriented 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 ProxyMate. 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 release. [pdf]

Selected LPWA media coverage

Technical Papers

A Presentation

Some of my privacy related activities

Sept 98