Two tales of privacy in online social networks (2013)

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Two Tales Of Privacy In Online Social Network



Privacy is one of the friction points that emerge when communications get mediated in Online Social Networks (OSNs). Different communities of computer science researchers have framed the ‘OSN privacy problem’ as one of surveillance, institutional or social privacy. In tackling these problems they have also treated them as if they were independent. We argue that the different privacy problems are entangled and that research on privacy in OSNs would benefit from a more holistic approach. In this article, we first provide an introduction to the surveillance and social privacy perspectives emphasizing the narratives that inform them, as well as their assumptions, goals and methods. We then juxtapose the differences between these two approaches in order to understand their complementarity, and to identify potential integration challenges as well as research questions that so far have been left unanswered.


The existing work could model and analyze access control requirements with respect to collaborative authorization management of shared data in OSNs. The need of joint management for data sharing, especially photo sharing, in OSNs has been recognized by the recent work provided a solution for collective privacy management in OSNs. Their work considered access control policies of a content that is co-owned by multiple users in an OSN, such that each co-owner may separately specify her/his own privacy preference for the shared content.


We distinguish three types of privacy problems that researchers in computer science tackle. The first approach addresses the “surveillance problem” that arises when the personal information and social interactions of OSN users are leveraged by governments and service providers. The second approach addresses those problems that emerge through the necessary renegotiation of boundaries as social interactions get mediated by OSN services, in short called “social privacy”. The third approach addresses problems related to users losing control and oversight over the collection and processing of their information in OSNs, also known as “institutional privacy”.



Number of Modules

After careful analysis the system has been identified to have the following modules:


1.     The Social Privacy Module

2.     Surveillance Module

3.     Institutional Privacy Module

4.     Approach To Privacy As Protection Module


1.The Social Privacy Module:

Social privacy relates to the concerns that users raise and to the harms that they experience when technologically mediated communications disrupt social boundaries. The users are thus “consumers” of these services. They spend time in these (semi-)public spaces in order to socialize with family and friends, get access to information and discussions, and to expand matters of the heart as well as those of belonging. That these activities are made public to ‘friends’ or a greater audience is seen as a crucial component of OSNs. In Access Control, solutions that employ methods from user modeling aim to develop “meaningful” privacy settings that are intuitive to use, and that cater to users’ information management needs.

2.Surveillance Module:

With respect to surveillance, the design of PETs starts from the premise that potentially adversarial entities operate or monitor OSNs. These have an interest in getting hold of as much user information as possible, including user-generated content (e.g., posts, pictures, private messages) as well as interaction and behavioral data (e.g., list of friends, pages browsed, ‘likes’). Once an adversarial entity has acquired user information, it may use it in unforeseen ways – and possibly to the disadvantage of the individuals associated with the data.

3.Institutional Privacy Module:

The way in which personal control and institutional transparency requirements, as defined through legislation, are implemented has an impact on both surveillance and social privacy problems, and vice versa. institutional privacy studies ways of improving organizational data management practices for compliance, e.g., by developing mechanisms for information flow control and accountability in the back end. The challenges identified in this paper with integrating surveillance and social privacy are also likely to occur in relation to institutional privacy, given fundamental differences in assumptions and research methods.

4.Approach To Privacy As Protection Module:

The goal of PETs (“Privacy Enhancing Technologies”) in the context of OSNs is to enable individuals to engage with others, share, access and publish information online, free from surveillance and interference. Ideally, only information that a user explicitly shares is available to her intended recipients, while the disclosure of any other information to any other parties is prevented. Furthermore, PETs aim to enhance the ability of a user to publish and access information on OSNs by providing her with means to circumvent censorship.




          Operating System                     : Windows

          Technology                               : Java and J2EE

          Web Technologies                     : Html, JavaScript, CSS

           Web Server                              : Tomcat

           Database                                  : My SQL

           Java Version                             : J2SDK1.7




         Hardware                             -     Pentium

         Speed                                   -     1.1 GHz

         RAM                                   -    1GB

         Hard Disk                           -    20 GB

         Floppy Drive                       -    1.44 MB


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