TMCnet Feature
November 14, 2011

Diaspora's Co-founder Dead at 22

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

Facebook (News - Alert) foe Diaspora has lost its co-founder who, at the young age of 22, has been found dead. TechCrunch confirmed the news earlier today.

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, one of four who started Diaspora, is rumored to have committed suicide, however no reports have denied nor confirmed these claims. The San Fransisco coroner’s office handling the case said that to determine the cause of death, it will take weeks upon weeks.

Diaspora was announced as a project in April of 2010 as three NYU students launched it via Kickstarter, a microfunding site.

In just twelve days, the quadret surpassed their fundraising goals, ultimately raising $200,000 in thirty nine days. Despite the competition, Mark Zuckerberg (News - Alert) was one of the generous donors.

Diaspora was founded upon the idea that social networking shouldn’t have to come with vague privacy settings. Security was an issue the four felt shouldn’t be compromised.

“We believe that privacy and connectedness do not have to be mutually exclusive. With Diaspora, we are reclaiming our data, securing our social connections, and making it easy to share on your own terms. We think we can replace today's centralized social web with a more secure and convenient decentralized network. Diaspora will be easy to use, and it will be centered on you instead of a faceless hub,” it says on the Kickstarter page.

The founders were inspired by a talk by Columbia law professor, Eben Moglen, on Internet privacy.

“As more and more of our lives and identities become digitized, Moglen explains, the convenience of putting all of our information in the hands of companies on “the cloud” is training us to casually sacrifice our privacy and fragment our online identities.”

A YouTube interview with Ilya shows the founders’ stance on privacy and how Diaspora is against the abuse of power when it comes to the ownership of photos and private information.

Diaspora’s blog has yet to post anything on Zhitomirskiy’s death.

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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