Vis-à-Vis: Online Social Networking via Virtual Individual Servers

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Wed Jul 08 16:09:00 EDT 2009

Online social networks (OSNs) are immensely popular. However, they raise important privacy concerns because OSN providers typically concentrate personal information for many users under a single administrative domain and acquire rights to that information. We present Vis-a-Vis, a privacy-preserving framework for OSNs in which each person maintains her own information in her own Virtual Individual Server (VIS), a personal virtual machine running in the cloud. VISs self-organize into peer-to-peer overlay networks, one per social group with which VIS owners wish to share information. Our decentralized approach makes large-scale privacy breaches less likely than in centralized architectures, and gives people fine control over what information they share with whom.

This is joint work with Alex Varshavsky from AT&T Labs and Landon Cox, Harold Lim, and Amre Shakimov from Duke University.


Ramón Cáceres

Ramon Caceres has more than 20 years of professional experience in technology research and development, split between industrial research labs and startup companies. Areas of focus include mobile computing systems and applications, location data analysis and modeling, infrastructure virtualization, security, and privacy. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He is an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Distinguished Scientist.