Role of Privacy and Trust in Mobile Business Social Networks

Role of Privacy and Trust in Mobile Business Social Networks

István Mezgár (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary & Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary) and Sonja Grabner-Kräuter (Klagenfurt University, Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-168-9.ch015

Abstract

New information and communication technologies and their integration extend the possibilities for people for high level collaboration independently where they are on the globe. Various groups of people can come together according to their private or business interest forming a virtual community (VC) through online social networks. Beside the positive effects of this technical breakthrough there are dangerous sides of using these high level networked systems; the personal data of the individuals can be used by other persons especially when the individual doesn’t take care of them. So, privacy has now an increasingly important role in social networked environments. As trust is the base of the society there is close connection between trust and privacy. The goal of this paper is to present the role and relationships between trust and privacy in mobile (business) social networks, and to introduce the possible types of privacy threats and countermeasures in case of online social networks. A short summary on future trends in mobile social networks is also presented.
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Introduction

There was always a strong need among people to share information and knowledge. This need of information exchange initiates the communication using different media both in private and professional life. The new technologies widen the world for individuals to reach other human beings independently where they are on the globe. Various groups of people can come together according to their private or business interest forming a virtual community through social networks.

A social network (SN) is a social structure made of individuals (or organizations) that can be called as “nodes”, and the links that are the different types of relationships/interdependency, established between nodes. In fact, a social network is based on two parameters: nodes and links. The nodes define the content of the relationships (links) according to their theme/interest/attendance (e.g. trade financial, friends, kinship, dislike, trade, sexual relations, disease transmission (epidemiology)). An important attribute of a link is the type of information exchange/communication technology (e.g. using mobile equipment). Today social networks use web-based services, so the type of communication can modify the behaviour of nodes, the communication habits of SN users.

In the generation and operation of these communities cooperation and collaboration have a significant role. On the other side these new communication technologies deeply modify traditional forms of social connections, communication and cultural habits as well. These modifications can be observed in particular in hierarchies, social rules, norms, conventions, familiarity and reputation.

A very important element of human contacts is trust. In a networked society, trust is the atmosphere, the medium in which actors are moving (Castelfranchi and Yao-Hua Tan, 2001). Trust can bridge cultural, geographical and organizational distances of members. Trust is the base of cooperation, the accepted behaviour of the human being in the society. As the rate of cooperation is increasing in all fields of life, the importance of trust is evolving even faster. In this new communication environment new methods and techniques of trust building have to be developed, as the conventional rules of face-to-face approach cannot be applied. According to different experiments the level of trust is highly influenced by the way/mode/medium of communication and by the duration of contact (Mezgar, 2005). Himmelman developed a hierarchy of partnerships (Himmelman, 1997) based on the amount of trust, time, and risk needed to establish and maintain the partnership. In Himmelman's framework, networking, coordinating, cooperating, and collaborating mean different concepts and are built on each other.

Privacy is another important element of using networks. Privacy is the right of an individual to be secure from unauthorized access, disclosure and being able to control information about oneself that is contained in different documents/files, databases or Web-pages. The degree/rate of privacy usually correlates with trust – the stronger privacy is, the higher is the level of trust.

Online Social Networks (OSNs) show an extremely quick expansion today. According to Wikipedia (Wikipedia, 2011 Sept.) the number of members of some OSNs are the following (in millions); Facebook – 640, MySpace - 100, Tagged - 100, Twitter - 175, LinkedIn - 120, XING – 8. The rate of connecting to OSNs by mobile (smart) phones is about 20% of the members and the role of privacy is increasing as well (this is shown by providers’ announcements on developments in their privacy rules and software abilities).

Chapter one gives a short overview on online social networks (OSNs) including business social networks (BSNs), the application trends of mobile technology both in social networks (mobile social networks - MSNs), and in business social networks (mobile business social networks - MBSNs). In the second Chapter the role of trust and privacy in the mobile business social networks is discussed and an overview is presented on privacy threats and countermeasures in OSNs. The third chapter summarizes the future trends and research directions in development of mobile business social networks.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Encryption: is the transformation of plaintext into an apparently less readable form (called cipher text) through a mathematical process. The cipher text may be read by anyone who has the key that decrypts (undoes the encryption of) the cipher text.

Mobile Business Social Network: In case the content of relationship is business oriented and the used communication technology is a type of mobile device/computer (e.g. PDA, smart phone, Netbook, Smartbook, Tablet computer) the social network can be defined as a Mobile Business Social Network (MBSN).

Privacy: is the right of an individual to be secure from unauthorized access, disclosure and being able to control information about oneself that is contained in different documents/files, databases or Web-pages.

Personal Trusted Device: The Personal Trusted Device (PTD) has to be personal, carried around with the user (owner), almost at anytime and anywhere and it is used in local (personal area networking, local area networking) and in global communications. PTD is small, cheap, battery operated, has common user interface, secure as a smart card. Smart Phones can fulfil the role of a Personal Trusted Devices, as mobile phones are well-placed as identity tokens, they have dynamic authentication already proven (e.g. in GSM), some of them uses biometrics instead of password and have secure communications possibilities.

Trust: in the Web environment is most often defined as a belief or expectation about the website, the web vendor and/or the Internet as the trusted party or object of trust or as a behavioural intention or willingness to depend or rely on the trusted party (Grabner-Kräuter and Kaluscha, 2003). In the context of OSNs other network participants, the social network site and the Web 2.0 technology can be considered as objects of trust (Grabner-Kräuter, 2010). Trust in the OSN captures both characteristics of an organization (the network provider) and a technology (the Internet serving as a transmission medium for online activities, or more specifically the security services and technical solutions embedded in Web 2.0 technologies).

Online Social Network: An online social network (OSN) is a social structure made of individuals (or organizations) that can be called as “nodes”, and the links that are the different types of relationships/interdependency, established between nodes. In fact, a social network is based on two parameters: nodes and links. The nodes define the content of the relationships (links) according to their theme/interest/attendance (e.g. trade financial, friends, kinship, dislike, trade, sexual relations, disease transmission (epidemiology)). An important attribute of a link is the type of information exchange/communication technology (e.g. using mobile equipment). Today social networks use web-based services, so the type of communication can modify the behaviour of nodes, the communication habits of OSN users.

Location Based Services (LBS): can be used in many fields, such as health, work, personal life, etc. The basic idea of LBSs is to identify a location of a person or object, and based on these data to discover the nearest service needed by the user (e.g. an ATM) or to find a colleague, friend or companion. Other LBSs can be location-based mobile advertising, navigation, recommending different programs in a region/city, traffic jam warnings, etc. The most promising application of mobile business social networks is the location-based service (LBS) that is a real MBSN. Privacy in LBSs is the most critical factor; there is no real good solution yet.

Pervasive Computing Environment: In pervasive computing environments people and devices are mobile and use various wireless networking technologies to discover and access services and devices in their vicinity.

Biometry (synonym: biometrics): Generally, biometrics refers to the study of measurable biological characteristics. In computer security, biometric technologies are defined as automated methods of identifying or authenticating the identity of a living person based on his/her physiological (e.g. fingerprint, hand, ear, face, eye – iris/retina) or behavioural (e.g. signature, voice, keystroke) characteristic. This method of identification is preferred over current methods involving passwords and pin numbers as the person to be identified is required to be physically present at the point-of-identification, so the person of user is identified not the device as in case of PIN and password.

Smartphone: is a class of wireless phones typically used to describe handsets with many features and often a keyboard. What makes the phone “smart” is its ability to handle data, not only voice calls. Smartphones can fulfil nearly all communication requirements of the users.Users are always available, User can reach his/her friends (Internet, e-mail) independent from place and time through different wireless technologies (mobility), Smart phones are personal trusted devices (can fulfil the functions/demands of privacy security, trust building), Multimedia data (pictures and graphics) can be transferred.

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