Distributed and Domain-Independent Identity Management for User Profiles in the SONIC Online Social Network Federation

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9795)


As of today, communication habits are shifting towards Online Social Network (OSN) services such as WhatsApp or Facebook. Still, OSN platforms are mostly built in a closed, proprietary manner that disallows users from communicating seamlessly between different OSN services. These lock-in effects are used to discourage users to migrate to other services. To overcome the obvious drawbacks of proprietary protocols and service architectures, SONIC proposes a holistic approach that facilitates seamless connectivity between different OSN platforms and allows user accounts to be migrated between OSN platforms without losing data or connections to other user profiles. Thus, SONIC builds the foundation for an open and heterogeneous Online Social Network Federation (OSNF). In this paper, we present a distributed and domain-independent ID management architecture for the SONIC OSNF, which allows user identifiers (GlobalID) to remain unchanged even when a profile is migrated to a different OSN platform. In order to resolve a given GlobalID to the actual URL of a social profile the Global Social Lookup System (GSLS), a distributed directory service built on peer to peer technology is introduced. Datasets called Social Records, which comprise all information required to look up a certain profile, are stored and published by the GSLS. Following this approach, social profiles can be migrated between OSN platforms without changing the user identifier, or losing connections to other users’ social profiles.


User Profile Online Social Network Distribute Hash Table Domain Name System User Account 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The work described in this paper is based on results of ongoing research and has received funding from the projects SONIC ( and reThink ( SONIC (grant no. 01IS12056) is funded as part of the SoftwareCampus initiative by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in cooperation with EIT ICT Labs Germany GmbH and Deutsches Luft- und Raumfahrtzentrum (DLR). reThink (grant no. 645342) is funded as part of the European Union’s research and innovation program Horizon 2020.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Telekom Innovation LaboratoriesTU BerlinBerlinGermany

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