Internet of Things Garage

Family Dynamics-based Access Control for IoT

Family Dynamics-based Access Control for the Internet of Things

Today, children are increasingly connected to the Internet and consume content and services through various means. It has been a challenge for less tech-savvy parents to protect children from harmful content and services. Internet of Things (IoT) has made the situation much worse as IoT devices allow children to connect to the Internet in novel ways (e.g., connected refrigerators, TVs, and so on). In this work, we propose to utilise family dynamics to provide a more natural, and intuitive access control mechanism to protect children from harmful content and services. In our proposed approach, access control dynamically adapts based on the physical distance between family members. For example, a particular type of content can only be consumed, through TV, by children if the parents are in the same room (or hearing distance). This approach allows parents to assess a given content by themselves. This is a contrasting view to AI-based decision making where AI decide on behalf of the parents. We believe that parents are the best person to make the decision, given that they get the right opportunity. Our access control mechanism aims to guarantee that opportunity (i.e., block certain content, services, and devices when the parents are not in the vicinity). We developed a prototype using OpenHAB and several smart home devices to demonstrate the proposed approach. We also conducted a focus group to identify how family dynamics can be further used to support better security and safety for children. We believe that our approach also facilitates the creation of better relationships between family members.



EPSRC (ECR Capital Award)

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is a British Research Council that provides government funding for grants to undertake research and postgraduate degrees in engineering and the physical sciences, mainly to universities in the United Kingdom.

Cardiff University

Cardiff University is the only Welsh member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities.



PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity is a consortium of eleven leading UK universities which will work together over the next three years to explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security.


Yasar Majib, Charith Perera, Context Aware Family Dynamics based Internet of Things Access Control Towards Better Child Safety, Proceedings of the IEEE 6th World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT), , New Orleans, LA, USA, 2020, pp. 1-6