'a private Facebook'... sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? How can an open source social network, possibly be kept private? How can people communicate freely and safely on the Internet without fear of losing privacy and security online?

Diaspora, a private Facebook

When four talented computer science students from New York City's Courant Institute heard a lecture given by Eben Moglen about freedom and ownership online, they started discussing what a "distributed" social network would look like, software, that can be encrypted for privacy, an open source personal web server that would put individuals in control of their data, with software downloaded like any other CD Rom. The exact opposite of Facebook, still a social network, but privacy that YOU control.

And the idea behind Diaspora was born.

"Our goal is for everyone to have full control over their data and to empower people into becom[ing] responsible, secure, and social Internet dwellers. We believe offering this service will be helpful to non-technical users who are also worried about their data and privacy online."

Simple definition of the term diaspora is the 'spreading of seeds.' While the term carries a sense of displacement, it also has a sense of hope, or desire, to return home with a centralized vision, a re-rooting of sorts that allows the individual to maintain an attachment, keep touch with all the seeds of his/her particular diaspora.

These four students, Daniel Grippi, Maxwell Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy, with a new idea of social networking on a privacy basis needed to raise money to build the server, so they went where else, but online to Kickstarter, an online site and a "new way to fund and follow creativity." The young students made a youtube video and asked for donations with a goal set at $10,000 last May. Their promise was to spend the summer building the server for Diaspora, writing the code, and then with your $5.00 donation, they would send you a CD at the end of the summer with Diaspora "all set up and ready to go," capable of carrying all your data, with control, to share just with whomever you like, an open source social network with privacy online.

They met their goal several times over and by June 1st had raised $200,000+, even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg contributed to the open source project with privacy, Diaspora, "I think it's cool...I see a little of myself in them...trying to make the world a better place and saying 'we should try to do it'."

September 15th is Diaspora's new goal.