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ME - Mobile Electronic Personality (2002->)

Mobile Electronic personality is an approach where customer describing information is stored at the customer's personal trusted device e.g. Mobile Phone. From ME different types of services can request the information they require. The stored information consist of identifying information, e.g. name and address, and descriptive information such as preference of certain types of music.


  • Jäppinen, Pekka., Porras, Jari. “ME - Mobile E-Personality” WSEAS Transactions on Computers, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.471-476, April 2003
  • Jäppinen Pekka. “ME: Mobile Electronic Personality” poster at Ubicomp 2003 doctoral colloquim
  • Jäppinen, Pekka.“ME - Mobile Electronic Personality” -PhD Thesis, Lappeenranta, June 2004 phdthesisnopublications.pdf
  • Jäppinen, Pekka., Porras, Jari.“ME - approach for ubiquitous personalization” -Eurescom Summit 2005, Heidelberg, April 2005

ME approach for personal information management


Service Access

There are different types of services that can be accessed over variety of communication medium with multitude of accessing devices. From personal information hadling point of view these provide interesting challenges.

  1. Different types of servicesview to services
    • Internet services may rely on the existing infrastructure and 3rd party authentication services. Services provided by other mobile phone cannot do that.
  2. Variety of Communication mediums
    • The capabilities of communication medium vary a lot. With fixed connection the data transfer can be very fast and therefore lot of information can be transmitted without delay
  3. Multitude of accessing devices
    • The accessing device for a service can be anything from traditional desktop computer to game console or mobile phone. The smaller the capabilities of accessing device the more important it is that the information the service provies is adapted.

Personal Information

Personal information in the context of ME means the information that describes the person i.e. name, preferences, credit card etc. This is different from the interpretation used in Personal information management (PIM) where the personal information means iinformation that the person “owns” i.e. calendar notes, personal notes etc. Personal information is needed by the services for two different tasks:

  1. To identify the customer.
  2. To adapt the service for customer.

Different approaches for personal information storage

There are 4 different parts in service accessing: The service, the network, the service accessing device and the user. All of these can be used for storing the information about the user. Keeping in mind of the limitations and differences of the service use, the different storage locations for personal information are evaluated below.

Storage at Service

  • The information stored at the service is available only for the services of that service provider
    • Customer has to type in repetitive information when registering into many services
    • When information changes it has to be updated in numerous places.
  • Personal information security depends on the security measures of the service.
  • Same personal information is stored in many locations
    • Many targets for criminals for stealing personal information
  • Service databases hold information about many customers
    • Information about several people is attractive target for malicios people

Storage at network (3rd party)

  • For example: .NET passport, Liberty architecture and late DigitalMe
  • Requires connection to the 3rd party
    • How to ensure reliable connection to the server from everywhere.
    • How ad hoc network services can be supported
  • Contract needed with third party
    • Can be very expensive
  • Requires trust towards third party
    • Does Customer and service provider trust to the same third party?
  • Data stored only in one place
    • Single database holdin lot of information about lot of people attracts malicious people
    • Single location is easy to upkeep.

Storage at Service Accessing Device (SAD)

  • For example Mozilla wallet
  • Data can be used only when accessing the service with the given accessing device
    • How to support nomadic and mobile users?
  • Data stored only in one place
    • Single database holding lot of information about one customer is not very attractive target.
    • Single location is easy to upkeep.

Storage at User (ME approach)

  • Data stored only in one place
    • Single database holding lot of information about one customer is not very attractive target.
    • Single location is easy to upkeep.
  • Data is always accesible for user
    • Upkeeping easy
  • Data can be accessed by all types of services.
    • Personalisation can be provided without registration
    • Service Accessing application will need modification when mobile device is not used for service accessing.
  • Security of data relies on device security methods

ME and services

Different types of services can be divided into two main groups from ME point of view Services and ME

  1. Direct services.
    • Are accessed with the mobile device running ME
    • Can be divided further into two other groups
      1. Transparent services
        • Services that are provided to customer automaticly e.g. wall advertisements like in movie Minority report
      2. Interactive services
        • User deliberately access the service
        • Customer uses the service actively e.g. browses through inventory
  2. Indirect services.
    • Are accessed with external device such as desktop computer
    • Service accessing device requestes the date for service from the mobile device
      • For example browser plugin can do this for Internet service

ME internal architecture

The internal structure of ME consists of communication modules, security agent, and two databases.  ME- Achitecure


  1. Personal information database
    • Holds users personal information
    • for each piece of peronal information defines a privacy level
  2. Service definitions database
    • Holds the identity of services
    • Credentials of the service (i.e. publickey)
    • Trust level for service


  1. Maintenance Interface is used for upkeeping the data stored in databases
  2. Local Service Interface is used by applications on mobile device
  3. Communication Interface is used by external devices which can be either services or service accessing devices.

Other parts

  • Communication modules provide the necessary functions to handle different communication protocols used for service accessing
    • Security agent decides
      • whether the requested data is delivered to the requesting service or not.
      • whether explicit user permission is required before delivering the information.