Online Social Networks (OSNs) offer free storage and social networking services through which users can communicate personal information with one another. The personal information of the users collected by the OSN provider comes with privacy problems when being monetized for advertising purposes. To protect user privacy, existing studies propose utilizing data encryption that immediately prevents OSNs from monetizing users data, and hence leaves secure OSNs with no convincing commercial model. To address this problem, we propose Privado as a privacy-preserving group-based advertising mechanism to be integrated into secure OSNs to re-empower monetizing ability. Privado is run by N servers, each provided by an independent provider. User privacy is protected against an active malicious adversary controlling N − 1 providers, all the advertisers, and a large fraction of the users. We base our design on the group-based advertising notion to protect user privacy, which is not possible in the personalized variant. Our design also delivers advertising transparency; the procedure of identifying target customers is operated solely by the OSN servers without getting users and advertisers involved. We carry out experiments to examine the advertising running time under various number of servers and group sizes. We also argue about the optimum number of servers with respect to user privacy and advertising running time.
Recommended citation: Sanaz Taheri-Boshrooyeh, Alptekin Küpçü, and Öznur Özkasap. “Privado: Privacy-Preserving Group-based Advertising using Multiple Independent Social Network Providers.” ACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS) 23.3 (2020): 1-36.