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Bypassing the social carriers

Some celebrated thinkers, such as Richard Stallman, Edward Snowden or Jaron Lanier, put in question the reason why of social networking itself.

This seems legitimate, as social networking platforms connect us as much as they deprive us from the exclusive property of our data. In practice, Facebook acts as a double-edge sword that works as much for us as our information works for the money profit of others. However we do it, what we share reflects who we are and how to make money; the main issue is that those two functions tend to be perverted, because a system that is promoted as free for the user is ultimately monetizing users´ media for free, and for the exclusive monopoly and wealth of a few executives.

As any other choice regarding freedom, going into this all-for-not-much circle is up to the individual. The dilemma lies in whether we want to be social or socially excluded, as today´s social activity is necessarily bypassed trough platforms like Facebook —in form of groups, events, collective chats, etc.—

What if a technology allowed us to share as much as we can but also as much as we want? Here I conceive an application that does not care about how much we deliver, because only those with the key can open it… even in social networks. We would hold the ownership of our own data under an encryption layer, while all the raw encrypted data may be shared as what looks as ASCII noise.

Someone may think that this is just about twisting Facebook´s privacy features, but that is not the point. Here, the main privacy feature that is active says:

  • Facebook knows that I am sharing, but not what I am sharing.
  • Facebook advertisers know that I am sharing, but not what I am sharing.
  • I do not refuse to be in a social network due to privacy concerns.
  • Only those with the Key of Trust will be allowed within MyData Kingdom.

The key point is keeping our information away of third-parties we are not aware about, but without stopping the social/data machine that drives it. Instead saying no to Facebook or solely relying on its deontology, —chuckles—, we can chose the way of sharing obfuscated data over the platform. What we would reach further than a wall full of silly cyphers and trippy computer-generated pictures; this would:

  • Challenge Facebook´s business model.
  • Challenge the way online advertising companies monitor users.
  • Establish some short of activism for a more respectful business model.
  • Warranty that our unencrypted data remains only on those who have our trust.

It would start as some script parsing Facebook´s HTTPS querys and —as it is not expected that Facebook works against its own business by creating an API— iy would be followed by a race involving enterprise-oriented engineers versus socially-focused hackers. Does is not sound worth to be attempted?

 

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