Formalising privacy policies in social networks

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Journal of Logical and Algebraic Methods in Programming, ISSN: 2352-2208, Vol: 90, Page: 125-157

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Pardo Jimenez, Raul; Balliu, Musard; Schneider, Gerardo
Elsevier BV
Mathematics; Computer Science; Social networks; Epistemic logic; Privacy
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article description
Social Network Services (SNS) have changed the way people communicate, bringing many benefits but also new concerns. Privacy is one of them. We present a framework to write privacy policies for SNSs and to reason about such policies in the presence of events making the network evolve. The framework includes a model of SNSs, a logic to specify properties and to reason about the knowledge of the users (agents) of the SNS, and a formal language to write privacy policies. Agents are enhanced with a reasoning engine allowing the inference of knowledge from previously acquired knowledge. To describe the way SNSs may evolve, we provide operational semantics rules which are classified into four categories: epistemic, topological, policy, and hybrid, depending on whether the events under consideration change the knowledge of the SNS' users, the structure of the social graph, the privacy policies, or a combination of the above, respectively. We provide specific rules for describing Twitter's behaviour, and prove that it is privacy-preserving (i.e., that privacy is preserved under every possible event of the system). We also show how Twitter and Facebook are not privacy-preserving in the presence of additional natural privacy policies.