Computers, handhelds and networks are the fabric that builds the ubiquitously connected world. In such a world, interaction between groups of people is increasingly augmented by being connected through one or more social networks on the internet. The connected user expects the social network to provide the same level of privacy protection as in a real-life interaction. The problem that we address is building social networks of users with similar interests (i.e., kindred spirits) in such a way that:
- Users are matched to one another
- Various levels of personal privacy are respected when the user enters or leaves social networks
We approach this problem by application-inspired research and solution validation. The project’s research partners and enduser partners provide requirements and constraints from a technological perspective and from an end-user point-of-view, in particular with regard to self-care groups and various forms of dating.
Our innovative solutions are based on matching algorithms that exploit users’ privacy-protected (encrypted) data, and on new networking protocols that warrants privacy levels while users meet kindred spirits, establish, enter and leave interest groups. Our research makes an important contribution to more trusted, safer and transparent social networks in which users participate more confidently. In addition, the privacy-preserving protocol provides internet users with an important tool for managing their on-line identities.