A Logical Key Hierarchy Based approach to preserve content privacy in Decentralized Online Social Networks

Distributed Online Social Networks (DOSNs) have been proposed to shift the control over user data from a unique entity, the online social network provider, to the users of the DOSN themselves. In this paper we focus on the problem of preserving the privacy of the contents shared to large groups of users. In general, content privacy is enforced by encrypting the content, having only authorized parties being able to decrypt it. When efficiency has to be taken into account, new solutions have to be devised that: i) minimize the re-encryption of the contents published in a group when the composition of the group changes; and, ii) enable a fast distribution of the cryptographic keys to all the members (n) of a group, each time a set of users is removed from or added to the group by the group owner. Current solutions fall short in meeting the above criteria, while our approach requires only O(dlogd(n)) encryption operations when a user is removed from a group (where d is an input parameter of the system), and O(2logd(n)) when a user joins the group. The effectiveness of our approach is evaluated through simulations based on a real online social network.