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Computer-supported access control

: Stevens, G.; Wulf, V.


ACM transactions on computer-human interaction : TOCHI 16 (2009), No.3, Art. 12
ISSN: 1073-0516
ISSN: 1557-7325
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Traditionally, access control is understood as a purely technical mechanism which rejects or accepts access attempts automatically according to a specific preconfiguration. However, such a perspective neglects the practices of access control and the embeddedness of technical mechanisms within situated action. In this article, we reconceptualize the issue of access control on a theoretical, methodological, and practical level. On a theoretical level, we develop a terminology to distinguish between access control practices and the technical support mechanisms. We coin the term Computer Supported Access Control (CSAC) to emphasize this perspective. On a methodological level, we discuss empirical investigations of access control behavior from a situated action perspective. We discovered a differentiated set of social practices around traditional access control systems. By applying these findings to a practical level, we enhance the design space of computer supported access control mechanisms by suggesting a matrix of technical mechanisms which go beyond an ex-ante configuration.