Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Security and Privacy in Social Networks

Security and Privacy in Social Networks
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Author(s): Barbara Carminati (Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy), Elena Ferrari (Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy)and Andrea Perego (Università degli Studi dell’Insubria, Italy)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 8
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch535


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Web-based social networks (WBSNs) are online communities that allow users to publish resources (e.g., personal data, annotations, blogs) and to establish relationships, possibly of a different type (“friend,” “colleague,” etc.) for purposes that may concern business, entertainment, religion, dating, and so forth. In the last few years, the usage and diffusion of WBSNs has been increasing, with about 300 Web sites collecting the information of more than 400 million registered users. As a result, the “net model” is today used more and more to communicate, share information, make decisions, and ‘do business’ by companies and organizations (Staab et al., 2005). Regardless of the purpose of a WBSN, one of the main reasons for participating in social networking is to share and exchange information with other users. Recently, thanks to the adoption of Semantic Web technologies such as FOAF and other RDF-based vocabularies (Brickley & Miller, 2005; Davis & Vitiello, 2005; Golbeck, 2004), accessing and disseminating information over multiple WBSNs has been made simpler (Ding, Zhou, Finin, & Joshi, 2005). If this has been quite a relevant improvement towards an easier sharing of information, it makes more urgent that content owners have control over information access. In fact, making available possibly sensitive and private data and resources implies that they can be used by third parties for purposes different from the intended ones. As a matter of fact, users’ personal data and resources are regularly exploited not only by companies for marketing purposes, but also by governments and institutions for tracking persons’ behaviors and opinions, and in the worst case, by online predators (Barnes, 2006). It is then a challenging issue to devise security mechanisms for social networks, able to protect private information and regulate access to shared resources. In this article, besides providing an overview of the characteristics of the WBSN environment and its protection requirements, we illustrate the current approaches and future trends to social network security, with particular attention paid to the emerging technologies related to the so-called Web 2.0.

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