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Preserving Privacy in Social Networking Systems: Policy-Based Control and Anonymity

Masoumzadeh, Amirreza (2014) Preserving Privacy in Social Networking Systems: Policy-Based Control and Anonymity. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Social Networking Systems (SNSs), such as Facebook, are complex information systems involving a huge number of active entities that provide and consume enormous amounts of information. Such information can be mainly attributed to the users of SNSs and hence, can be considered privacy-sensitive. Therefore, in contrast to traditional systems where access control is governed by system policies, enabling individual users to specify their privacy control policies becomes a natural requirement. The intricate semantic relationships among data objects, users, and between data objects and users further add to the complexity of privacy control needs. Moreover, there is immense interest in studying social network data that is collected by SNSs for various research purposes. Anonymization is a solution to preserve user privacy in this case. However, anonymizing social network datasets effectively and efficiently is a much more challenging task than anonymizing tabular datasets due to the connectedness of the users in a social network graph.
In this dissertation, we propose approaches and methods that facilitate preserving user privacy in terms of providing both fine-grained control of information and utility-preserving anonymization. In particular, we propose an ontology-based privacy control framework that enables fine-grained specification and enforcement of privacy control policies by both users and SNS providers. Our framework allows an SNS provider to determine privacy control policy authorities for SNS information, and allows users to specify advanced policies, that in addition to fine-grained policy specification, enables sharing of authority over protected resources. Based on such an ontology-based foundation, we also propose a framework to support novel privacy policy analysis tasks in SNSs. Furthermore, we propose a framework to enhance anonymization algorithms for social network datasets in terms of preserving their structural properties without sacrificing privacy requirements set for the algorithms. The proposed approaches direct the behavior of anonymization algorithms based on concepts in social network theory. We evaluate our proposed methods and approaches by implementing a prototype of the privacy control framework, carrying out a policy analysis case study for a real-world SNS, and performing an extensive set of experiments on improving social network anonymization in terms of preserving data utility.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Masoumzadeh, Amirrezaamirreza@sis.pitt.eduAMM215
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairJoshi, Jamesjjoshi@pitt.eduJJOSHI
Committee MemberBrusilovsky, Peterpeterb@pitt.eduPETERB
Committee MemberKrishnamurthy, Prashantprashk@pitt.eduPRASHK
Committee MemberPelechrinis, Konstantinoskpele@pitt.eduKPELE
Committee MemberBertino,
Date: 26 August 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 August 2014
Approval Date: 26 August 2014
Submission Date: 22 August 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 120
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Information Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Privacy, Social Networking Systems, Anonymization
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2014 19:01
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2016 14:42


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