Universal Personal Proxy

A few days ago, Les posted his thoughts on a PersonalWebProxy as personal Google and Wayback machine in response to a post on Matt Griffith's site. This is an idea - a theme almost - that's been going around for a while now. I've seen something like it posted a few other times, Jim and I have been batting this type of idea around for months now and I've posted about something similar also. I've just been too lazy to get a prototype finished (though, I've got it started, does that count?).

The idea in my mind is for a project that would be a universal personal proxy (UPP) that sits between you and the internet. It would be a web proxy, email filter, spam cop, a place for agents and schedule tasks to run and more. It would be responsible for both receiving and sending of information - as web pages, emails, web services requests, ftp file postings, etc. In the middle it would do analysis like for Spam or RSS autodiscovery, intelligent bookmark history, etc. as well as storing data such RSS and other news feeds. There are already efforts along these lines tackling the problem from various perspectives. ZOE is for filtering emails, aggregators for filtering web logs and news, etc.

This sort of app would be for people like myself who spend an innordinate amount of time on the internet. All of us all slowly working our way towards this idea, I think. As well get used to news aggregators and web services, we're starting to expand our minds about what can we do with the data out there - and what we can do to stop the information overload that many of us are experiencing. A UPP is a "middle brain" to help combat this.

This meets up with Fred's recent comments about where he thinks web services are going: Collaboration Services. Fred's thoughts is that there needs to be a way to integrate boht p2p and web services together and that's where I think the UPP comes in. In my mind these UPPs will communicate both with centralized servers and with other UPPs as well.

Not to forget security as an afterthought - the UPP could automagically secure all the communication that it is doing as well. Maybe in a simple SHTTP way, or maybe taking a clue from Groove and encrypting the information before it goes out into the wild internet. It would be great to see some sort of key system in place so you could run other people's agents on your UPP as well without worries that it's actually a virus. Lots of cool things you could do with this sort of setup (and the truth is that MS and Groove are already 2/3rds of the way there.)

Obviously, I would like to see this done in Java as the runtime has a great base for much of this and much more is available as open libraries on the web. It's all just a matter of wiring it all together. Someone will, soon too.

Just my thoughts.


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