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Preventing Accidental Public Disclosure of Data on a Social Networking Site

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000196973D
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-22
Document File: 1 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a system for preventing a social networking site user from accidentally publishing information to a wider audience than intended. The core of the idea is to query the user's privacy settings on the social networking site via a programming interface and use that information to annotate the web page to show which input fields make data publically available and which publish to a restricted audience.

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Preventing Accidental Public Disclosure of Data on a Social Networking Site

Social networking sites allow users to create profiles and publish information about themselves.

    Several social networking sites have privacy policies that make much of the information supplied by users public, unless explicitly made private. Having users make information freely available is potentially commercially valuable to the social networking sites - because they can aggregate and sell the data.

    When a user is entering data in a social networking site (through a web form for example) it's impossible to tell from that screen, how far the information entered will be disseminated by the site.

    The problem to be solved is how to protect a social networking user from inadvertently publishing data they intended for a select audience (their friends) to the world.

Existing solutions to this problem are:

Browser plugins that encrypt data entered in a social networking site, and provide keys to their friend's browsers to decrypt it. Thereby preventing other users from reading the data (see http://www.technologyreview.com/web/23405/?a=f). Disadvantages: All friends must use the encryption plugin (and by extension must use an operating system/browser combination compatible with the encryption plugin).

    The invention is to have an intermediate layer between the user and the social networking site (such as a web-proxy or browser-plugin) that can interrogate the privacy settings for a social networ...