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I've been reading a lot of things about privacy, "being in control of your data" and everything, and now a project called diaspora* is trying to be an OSS Facebook alternative.

Fact is: you still have to use a server. Even if you use a VPS somewhere, they still have access do your data, so diaspora* isn't that protective shell people are looking for absolute power over your data unless you create a server on your basement.

My question is: is it possible to create a really encrypted usable server using a VPS? From database to source files? If not, what it can be "obfuscated" or encrypted?

(And just a mention, not really my question, do you think is diaspora* really possible to be made?)

(I know if you really want privacy you shouldn't be even using these services and being social, but I'm asking if it's possible to at least avoid companies using your data)

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The answer is: it doesn't matter.

Even if you assume that there will never be a flaw with the encryption, the whole system is set up to distribute data. And that means that there will be exploits in the distribution channels which will allow the data to be intercepted after it has been decrypted. In that way, it's no different from a number of exploits that have hit Facebook which have exposed user data: it's not the storage you need to worry about.

Additionally, the thing that has made Facebook so popular is its app-friendly development policy. The more scripting you allow, the more potential holes you open. So either they allow no scripting, which will seriously effect their user base, or they allow scripting and seriously impact their storage integrity.

I think it's possible, yet doomed. The pressure on a publicly held company that provides a free service to monetize it's user data is overwhelming. Even if you go in with good intentions, I don't foresee them lasting forever.

The only thing I can see working is an actual distributed network, where the user actually DOES have control of their data, but that would involve some sort of neutral storage network, and would have it's own share of problems.

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The point is not about servers. It is about storing people's info after they delete something. It is about allowing other people whether advertisers, your friends of a friend, or anyone to see anything abut you without your permission.For college kids it is fine, at that age showing off is biggest thing people want to do. But once ou cross that 25-30 age and mature up, facebook is a no no.

In the end is is simple: Without a user's permission no one should see anything about you. It should be like you don't exist unless you want to share something. And when a user hits delete you need to remove it from your servers, no soft deletes. But companies like Google and Facebook do the opposite, they will track every inch of your life which is dangerous in the long run. My drunk photos I posted on my album have ended up all over my friends of friend to n degrees because my friends comment on it and it appears on their friend's wall and they comment and it it was a whole mess some time back so I just quit facebook in the end until someone comes out with a privacy friendly network. Diaspora has a good idea but is weak with their business model and features. Apart from privacy you need to offer users features too which will make them stay and use your service.

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this is not a forum, this is a Q&A site. Please take your off-topic ranting elsewhere. – Zoredache Dec 25 '10 at 15:17

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