The assignee for this patent application, patent application serial number 368334, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Different strategies exist for enabling an application to interact with a user-owned resource. As used herein, a user-owned resource refers to any functionality, control setting, or data associated with a user who interacts with a user device. For example, one type of user-owned resource may correspond to a camera resource that is provided by the user device.
"On one extreme of the design spectrum, an access strategy may treat all user-owned resources as global resources. This permits any application that is installed on the user device to access any user-owned resource without restriction. A traditional desktop environment that runs on a personal computer uses this type of an access strategy. That is, an application that runs using the desktop system can generally access any of the resources provided by the personal computer by virtue of the fact that the user has permitted the application to be installed on the personal computer. On the opposite extreme of the design spectrum, an access strategy may treat each application as an isolated principal that has no access to any user-owned resource under any circumstance. Some types of traditional browser systems use this type of an access strategy or a variation of this type of access strategy. For instance, a web application that runs using this type of browsing system is generally not allowed to access the user-owned resources installed on the computer device which runs the browsing system.
"The first-mentioned access strategy is not optimal because an application may represent a malicious entity which can access and utilize the user's resources in undesirable ways. The second access strategy is not optimal because an application may have a legitimate need to access a user-owned resource. Preventing the application from accessing a resource in this circumstance therefore reduces the utility of the application, or may force the application to rely on less efficient work-around solutions to access the user-owned resource. For example, a browser system may rely on a browser add-on to interact with a user-owned resource. But many browser add-ons enjoy overly broad access rights with respect to certain user-owned resources, and thereby may subject the user to undue security risks.
"To address the above shortcomings, the industry has proposed various intermediate access strategies, e.g., for use on smartphones. In one case, an access strategy may treat the applications as isolated entities. When an application requires access to a user-owned resource, a system which runs the application can display a prompt to the user, asking the user whether to grant the application permission to access the user-owned resource. This strategy is not optimal, however, because the user may perceive the prompts as bothersome. In addition, the user may simply answer such prompts in the affirmative in rote fashion, e.g., without fully considering the rights being conferred. In another case, an access strategy involves providing a manifest which describes the access rights conferred to an application. Upon installing an application, the access strategy may ask the user to accept or decline the permission rights described in the manifest. This access strategy, however, is also not optimal because a user may not readily understand the nature of the rights described in the manifest. Further, the manifest may grant the application overly broad access rights.
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