Leave Faceboogle! Join the Social Swarm

German privacy NGO FoeBuD is planning ‘Social Swarm’. An international campaign that will encourage people to turn their back on the big, centralized, data-hungry social networks.

“We want a social network that deserves to be called “social”. We want a social swarm!”

In the May 2010 there was QuitFacebookDay, which resulted in nearly 40.000 users leaving Facebook. In the (near) future there is Social Swarm: a much larger and coordinated campaign to switch to a ‘good’ alternative for ‘Faceboogle’, realized together with many people and organizations.

The initiators are currently looking into ‘candidate’ software projects to collaborate, as well as discussing and collecting the criteria and requirements on their website. In respect to the network architecture, it is interesting to note their critical annotations on decentralized federated alternatives:

“Federated servers are a major privacy headache: Instead of having one company that can spy on you and sell your data you suddenly enable several companies or private parties to do so.”

In the former posting about Diaspora, I wrote that when you join a ‘pod’ instead of your own, it a matter of trust. When you consciously share information with other users, it may very well be the case that it is stored on a server out of your reach. Who has access to your information, in federated networks, will always be dependent on the network architecture, the user’s sharing settings and activities. The bottom line is that ‘you are in control’. Which means that you initially decide what information to share and with whom, as opposed to one corporate entity -with all your data on its server- deciding it for you.

Social swarm, however, questions if users are really ‘in control’ in a decentralized federated network setting. The proposed solution by Social Swarm for ‘good privacy’ is a truly distributed peer-to-peer networking alternative by design: one that does not depend on servers. One which facilitates end to end encryption and doesn’t store ‘clear text user data’ on servers.

Social Swarm aims for the development of something unique and difficult to imitate: a network that enables all of its users to communicate ‘freely’. A free and secure means of communication for everybody and everything.

If you are interested in joining forces, discussing and developing the Social Swarm, check out the invitation, website  and flyer.