Ir. Ruben De Smet obtained his MSc degree in Engineering from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2018. He is now working on his PhD at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is teaching assistant in programming and electronics courses.
Typical online social networks (OSN) use a client-server architecture to exchange information between users. This is detrimental to users’ privacy, since it puts a single logical entity in power of a user’s data.
Peer-to-peer architectures do not have this central point of failure, but distribute the data among all users instead.In my Master Thesis, I proposed a generic peer-to-peer architecture to facilitate development of OSN applications, which I called Glycos.
In my PhD, I am extending this architecture to the Internet of Things (IoT), and more specifically, the Social Internet of Things (SIoT). In this paradigm, devices act in a social fashion: devices have friendship and trust relations, which determine with whom what information gets shared. I will research the security properties of the proposed architecture, and develop features to further enhance the platforms capabilities.
My main focus is on the security aspects of these systems, and specifically using zero-knowledge proofs to securely share and distribute partial data. I have been intrigued by how people’s data has been more and more harvested and used against them, already since I was in high school. This is my main motivation: by building an online social network that does not provide data unless explicitly asked, I hope to some day fight these malpractices.