Informational self-determination – the concept of decentralisation as an alternative to powerful data gathering companies
Maintaining a complex social network if hardly no one uses it and recently revealed a tremendous security breach? For the technology giant Google this is no longer up for discussion. In ten months, in August next year, the plug will be pulled. Googles in-house social network is going to be shut down. Google+ users will still be able to download their stored data and transfer them to other platforms.
But what are the alternatives? A switch to Facebook or other data gathering companies, platforms that earn money with our data and – using the example of Facebook – cannot even guarantee safekeeping for it? The question should rather be if we would like to leave our data to private companies. Anyone who refuses to do so, anyone who would like to regain control and responsibility over their own data and counteract a cultural constriction, currently has only one concrete option: open-source based networks. The data can be stored at home on your own computer or at a trusted provider. The advantages are obvious: Control of a video, for example, is completely retained – it can be removed at any time. And anyone who wants can even control who is allowed to see it. This of course applies to all types of data – texts, information and photos.
We present you two alternatives that set an uncommercial concept against the authoritarian-organized social networks.
Since 2010 diaspora* has offered its users the option to set up local servers anywhere in the world or to join existing servers. Decentralization is the keyword here – however it is still possible to connect seamlessly with the global community. In addition, the network offers its users the freedom to modify the source code and thus the possibilities of use and to adapt it to their own use. Just like the profile itself. Creativity can be given free rein, the real identity does not have to be used. The data are also not used to make money by evaluating interaction and advertising based on it, only for the possibility of global networking and user interaction. The user can specifically allow who can see posts and who cannot. As a result of individual privacy control, it is up to the user how private or public his profile may be. Even if your own contacts are not yet represented on diaspora*, your own account can be linked to other social networks and an extensive network can take place. More information about diaspora* is available at https://diasporafoundation.org/.
Mastodon is also an open source network that exists since 2016. As with diaspora*, there is no central server here, but a multitude of private ones, which are merged into a large network. Similar to Twitter, there is a limit of 500 characters for texts. Again, the user comes to the fore, there is no collection of data, no commercial use. A little insight and further information can be found at https://mastodon.social/about.
Curious? There are currently 23 projects at https://the-federation.info/, including diaspora* and mastodon, which are based on decentralized open-source software. Nodes connect these individual projects, allowing them to communicate with each other. Anyone who wants to reinvent and shape their right to informal self-determination has to be right here.
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