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[liberationtech] The missing component: Mobile to Web interoperability (in Internet Freedom Technologies)

Jonathan Wilkes jancsika at
Sun Sep 15 22:57:05 PDT 2013

On 09/15/2013 02:32 PM, Michael Rogers wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> On 15/09/13 16:49, Jonathan Wilkes wrote:
>> I'm not completely sure, but I don't think that is possible.
>> For example: regardless of privacy implications, discoverability on
>>   Facebook is a feature.  Regardless of privacy implications,
>> suggestions for friends based on the social graph (and updates to
>> it) is a feature.  I don't see how one could retain just those two
>> features in a p2p design with privacy in mind.
> Friend suggestions can be based on a partial view of the social graph
> - - for example, each user may be able to see their friends and their
> friends' friends, which would enable an algorithm running on their own
> device to suggest friends' friends who they may know, without anyone
> (including the service providers) having a complete view of the social
> graph.

If the network scales, and the average user has about 250 friends, how
many users would it take to share their data with a third party to provide
that third party a complete view of the social graph?

> Limited searching would also be possible using a partial view, and
> would support the 'best' use cases for the feature (reconnect with old
> friends, find that person you were talking to at that party) without
> allowing people to look up complete strangers.

How does the network tell the difference between my search
for an old friend and my search for a total stranger?

Please push me back on the right track if I have a blind spot
here-- I'm having a difficult time seeing a technical difference
between a social network that allows partial views of the
graph in order to maintain a semblance of privacy, and a
system of distributing digital copies of music that tries to
limit the number of times a file may be copied.

In fact, it seems worse in the case of partial graph views-- at
least with music copying there's an icon representing "the music"
and keystrokes or mouse clicks representing "the act of piracy";
from the music industry's point of view (i.e., their concept of
"privacy") they can drill down on the alleged immorality
or negative consequences of a user _doing_ those actions and
persuade _some_ amount of people with such an argument.  With
social networks as I know them, the variables that control which
pieces of users' data get sent to what location, at what time,
and how often, are hidden away from the day-to-day UX.  And
even if they are put front and center, how does the user measure
the moral hazard associated with allowing certain parts of their data
to be accessed from one hop away, vs. two hops, etc.?


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