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IPFS News Link • Privacy Rights

Facebook alternative Diaspora fully funded

Four students in New York have raised $200,000 (£136,000) to build a alternative to Facebook where users have more control of their personal information.

2 Comments in Response to

Comment by Nick Barnett
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Diaspora looks great. I brought it up a few weeks ago when I heard of it... we started having a bit of techno babble discussion, but it died off. Here is the link if you want to read what I was talking about

Comment by Die Daily
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This is a very important story; more than it might appear. The article touches on it a bit, but it's worth highlighting the vast and fundamental differences between the Facebook and Diaspora paradigms. I just want to clarify that the two technologies are really night and day, almost totally opposite approaches. While Facebook centralizes data on owned, controlled servers (like Napster did, for instance), Diaspora employs a decentralized scheme very much like the present BitTorrent clouds in which there are ZERO content-hosting servers. Sure, there are "trackers", that relay the users to one-another's individually owned and hosted content, but these are mere conveniences with Torrents and Diaspora both. If tomorrow every torrent tracker went offline, it would certainly impact torrent traffic, especially at first, but believe it or not, it wouldn't stop it. Not by a long shot.

The trackers make things convenient, like the yellow pages used to for pre-internet shoppers. Eliminate the phone book? No problem, you can still find the businesses in other manual ways (in Torrents we call these DHT, Magnet Linking, etc.) the best way being "word of mouth", ask a friend. You can't do this in Facebook. If the central Facebook servers go down, that's it. You can't do a thing, period. Nobody can. In contrast, if a torrent tracker goes down, it's OK. It's even OK if they ALL go down, it's just not nearly as convenient for folks.

As an example: let's say all torrent servers have been killed or suppressed. But I want to use my current, free BitTorrent software to share files with, for example, Ernest Hancock. So, I call, or email, or mail, or HAM radio, or smoke signal over to Ernie, or maybe I go over to his house as long as I remember to be real polite. I only have to tell him my IP address and then leave, quickly, before I overstay my welcome. I don't even need to get his IP address, which is good, because he's never met me and he might suspect that I'm a census worker and decide to tell me jack-s--t. But, on a lark, all he has to do is type me into his torrent client software as a "manual peer" and, presto, we're a "cloud".

But it gets better. Ernie's not the only guy I've formed a cloud with, nor am I the only guy he's connecting with. Indirectly, his friends can now be connected to my friends. And they have some friends...etc...and we've all heard that adage that socially we're only seven steps removed from anyone else on the planet. Same thing here. Planet. Seven steps. Everybody.

We don't even need a single fixed-address server. You can even use the newly developing "distributed DNS" protocol so you don't need IP's, just nicknames, and the man can then change up the IPs of our machines ten times a day and "yeah, so what, bring it".

It's hard not to go on and on about the importance and extensibility of this paradigm because it excites me. A lot. But I'll say one more thing. Imagine a website in which NO DATA WHATSOEVER RESIDES ON ANY CENTRAL SERVER. Who the man gonna lean on now? Who he gonna shoot even? Where's the handle on THAT suitcase? Who's gonna grab it? WE THE PEOPLE. It's coming. Be ready.

Slowly, I'm learning that freedom's the answer regardless of WTF the question is. And freedom is decentralization. It can have no central plan. You don't want to put a handle on it. You want it to be OUT OF CONTROL right from the start. Diaspora will do this. Bank on it. Oh, and tell your kids. They won't be up on this yet, in all likelihood.

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