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Dublin: 17°C Sunday 19 September 2021

Open source alternative to Facebook releases source code

‘Diaspora’, a social network which aims to transparently guard users’ privacy in a way Facebook doesn’t, unveils itself.

A NEW SOCIAL NETWORK aiming to allow users flex greater control on how their personal details are shared has released the source code of its site.

The four engineers behind Diaspora, the latest entrant to the already crowded social networking market, say they want to return control of a person’s details to that person themselves, arguing that the gradual move to ‘cloud storage’ – where data is saved on a network of remote servers instead of on a user’s own computer – leads to a sacrifice in privacy.

The four – all of whom are students at New York University, with one mathematician and three computer scientists – believe that handing over ones data means a user loses control of how that data is stored, or who it’s shared with.

Giving themselves just under six weeks to raise $10,000 to fund the project, the students have raised over $200,000 – and counting – so far.

Motivated by that, they decided to create their ‘privacy aware, personally controlled, do-it-all distributed open source social network’  - but insist that it is not meant to be an ‘anti-Facebook’, instead hoping that users will eventually be able to control their Facebook from within their own more secure Diaspora account.

Diaspora, instead of asking users to upload their data to a central website, asks individual users to download a ‘node’, encrypted and stored on their own computers, where all of their data – including their personal details, logs of their interests, and photographs – will be saved.

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Because the data requires the computer to be turned on, however, any time a computer is powered down a user will simply disappear from the network.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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