Online social network applications severely suffer from various security and privacy exposures. This article suggests a new approach to tackle these security and privacy problems with a special emphasis on the privacy of users with respect to the application provider in addition to defense against intruders or malicious users. In order to ensure users' privacy in the face of potential privacy violations by the provider, the suggested approach adopts a decentralized architecture relying on cooperation among a number of independent parties that are also the users of the online social network application. The second strong point of the suggested approach is to capitalize on the trust relationships that are part of social networks in real life in order to cope with the problem of building trusted and privacy- preserving mechanisms as part of the online application. The combination of these design principles is Safebook, a decentralized and privacy- preserving online social network application. Based on the two design principles, decentralization and exploiting real-life trust, various mechanisms for privacy and security are integrated into Safebook in order to provide data storage and data management functions that preserve users' privacy, data integrity, and availability. Preliminary evaluations of Safebook show that a realistic compromise between privacy and performance is feasible.
Safebook : a privacy preserving online social network leveraging on real-life trust
"IEEE Communications Magazine", Vol 47, N°12, Consumer Communications and Networking Series, December 2009
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