Privacy, Availability and Economics in the Polaris Mobile Social Network

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Executive Summary

While highly successful, today's Online Social Networks (OSNs) have made a conscious decision to sacrifice privacy for availability and centralized control. Unfortunately, trade-offs in this "Walled garden" architecture naturally pit the economic interests of OSN providers against the privacy goals of OSN users, a battle that users cannot win. While some alternative OSN designs preserve user control over data, they do so by de-prioritizing issues of economic incentives and sustainability. In contrast, the authors believe any practical alternative to today's centralized architecture must consider incentives for providers as a key goal. In this paper, the authors propose a distributed OSN architecture that significantly improves user privacy while preserving economic incentives for OSN providers.

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