P2P Social - Lessons from Cambridge Analytica

Why P2P social? Day on day, there are news filtering out about the hegemony of FaceBook in having access to data of over a billion persons around the world. The ability of FB to alter the narrative through selective streaming of information, censoring information is a point that is still being debated in the context of the 2016 US Presidential elections.

More serious is that FB subverting economy in a subtle and blatant way. The article http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/time-has-come-to-rein-in-the-power-of-facebook1.2191031 talks about how there is an urgent need to rein in FaceBook’s hold on our data.

The article https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610577/the-cambridge-analytica-affair-revealsfacebooks-transparency-paradox/ highlights how flimsy the process of safeguarding information is maintained at FB.

There are plenty of other resources which talk about how FB as a holder of unprecedented public data is a danger to the free world as we know it.

The access to users’ data by Cambridge Analytica is a well known expose but what is not seen is a more sinister fact that there could have been countless others who could’ve grabbed the users’ data and could’ve developed means to selective target unsuspected public to silently alter the way they think through carefully run campaigns.

At the heart of this problem is the complete access that FB has to the data that you think is private and its ability to use this data to its own end and its inability to safeguard it from nefarious actors.

The time has come for us to take charge of the data. The data should be private and is immediately unavailable the moment a user decides to make it unavailable. This is in contrast to what Facebook will continue to hold even after you terminate your account.

What is P2p Social?

P2p social is an attempt to use BlockChain to encrypt user content and allow display of user feeds and user contents to only their “Circle”(s) of friends.

The idea is simple and many attempts have been made to implement this through Open Source development framework. But one of the key missing elements in the P2P social solutions that are available now is, securing the data from persons who are not authorized to view it.

How does the new BlockChain power P2P social work?

At the heart of the proposed system is the BlockChain. By definition and implementation of BlockChain, the information within the node is secure and is not accessible by anyone other than the person holding the private key that can unlock the information.

Access to the meta information that can be stored within a node can be controlled through robust access control algorithms to ensure that data that are deemed private by the node owner can never be accessed by anyone other than the owner himself.

With the controlled access, we can easily configure to allow selected “Friends” to view information in the nodes.

Additionally, by having a master node that can store the access information, we can also look at having a mini-master key setup that is similar to the OAuth protocol that can be used as a single sign-on mechanism. Unlike the current OAuth protocols where the information is held in the central servers of giants like FB, Google and the likes, this MMK can be a secure key that is fully under your control.

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