Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Co-Founder of Social Network, Dies at 22 -

Ilya Zhitomirskiy, Co-Founder of Social Network, Dies at 22 -

The San Francisco police, in confirming his death, did not give the cause. Friends and associates of Mr. Zhitomirskiy said there were indications of suicide.

Mr. Zhitomirskiy was a student at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences in 2010 when he and three fellow undergraduates conceived the idea for a Web-based community that would give users, rather than the Web site itself, control of the information they shared.

Instead of creating a central database like Facebook’s, where information about hundreds of millions of members is stored and mined for advertising and marketing purposes, their idea was to develop freely shared software that would allow every member of the network to “own” his or her personal information.

Mr. Zhitomirskiy, an impish self-styled radical, unicyclist and competitive ballroom dancer, was a member of the nascent liberation technology movement, which views the conglomeration of personal information by large corporate and government bodies as a threat to civil liberties and human rights.