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Open Distributed Social Networks

24 May 2010

On current Social Networks every user has a limited view of his social graph. The provider on the other hand has a complete view of the network, access to all data, and often keeps ownership of it too. People who wish to link up with friends on different social networks need to convince them to join their network or they must join theirs. Open Distributed Social Networks, that allow participants to link across networks and control their data and relationships, do currently exist (using Semantic Web standards and vocabularies such as FOAF) but until recently the information in this network was completely public. In this short interview, Social Network Architect Henry Story describes a global distributed authentication system (‘FOAF+SSL’) that gives the data owner the privacy that people think they are enjoying on the current centralized social networks, whilst allowing them to connect to anyone else in the world.