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Online social networking has quickly become one of the most common Internet activities. As social networks evolve, they encourage users to share more information, requiring the users, in turn, to place more trust into social networks. In centralized systems, this means trusting a third-party commercial entity, like Facebook or MySpace. Peer-To-Peer (P2P) systems can enable the creation of online social networks extending trust to friends only. In this paper, the authors present a novel approach to constructing completely decentralized social networks through P2P overlays, OverSoc. The approach relies on a common directory overlay, which facilitates friend discovery and bootstraps connectivity to individualized profile overlays. Each user has their own individual profile overlay managed transparently using a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
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