Everyone is naked: Privacy in P2P networks

Tags: P2P privacy research talk

The ethos of the P2P community and the decentralized web is based on a new paradigm where people and communities can interoperate and collaborate without the need for external stewardship. This new paradigm opens doors for user self-sovereignty, personal data ownership and freedom from central authorities which incentives tend to lock-in their users and to hold and monetize private data in order to maximize their profits. However, P2P and decentralized protocols are complex and collaboration between multiple parties often leaks metadata that can be used to target individuals and communities. While centralized systems disclose user’s behaviour and social graph to one centralized entity, naive decentralized systems potentially disclose that information to everyone in the network. While it is clear that current systems are not focusing on user privacy, failing to deliver it will render decentralized systems unusable and unattractive for mass adoption or as a viable alternative to centralized systems.

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