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[liberationtech] a privacy preserving and resilient social network

Eleanor Saitta ella at dymaxion.org
Fri Jun 28 09:24:05 PDT 2013


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On 2013.06.28 03.37, Alireza Mahdian wrote:
> First of all anonymity is not a goal here.

I'm going to come down on you kind of hard here, but it's not aimed at
you, it's aimed at everyone building systems like this.

A month ago, you could plausibly argue that it was possible to build
privacy-preserving tools that did not provided unlinkability (what you
mean when you say anonymity).

This is now revealed as obviously, laughably, tragically, and utterly
false.

Social graph and traffic analysis is the name of the game.  Content
protection actually matters much *less* than unlinkability.

If you claim to be building privacy preserving system and it either does
not provide strong unlinkability as at least an option, or creates
central points of trust failure where someone can be compelled into
compromising the network, you have done nothing.

Yes, there are different tools that are appropriate for different
contexts.  However, there is little or no point in doing further
research on so-called privacy perserving tools that do not preserve
privacy.

This sucks for folks who have grant money and research time tied up in
existing project that are now plainly irrelevant.  Tough.  The world
changed, and we as a community need to move on, in a hurry.

> A structure similar to I2P or Tor that uses overlay network would
> be very inefficient due to network delays

Congratulations!  Your job is now to figure out how to make it faster
while keeping the same privacy guarantees.  You don't get to opt out,
because you can't do any meaningful work until you've done this.

This sucks.  I would be quite happy to live in a world where these
were not the constraints we as developers had to live with.  But we
don't get that choice.

E.

- -- 
Ideas are my favorite toys.
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