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BuddyPress Privacy Component: An Update

  • Jeff Sayre


    Many people have been inquiring about privacy options in BuddyPress. Some of you are aware that I am currently coding a Privacy Component for BuddyPress. I decided that it is time to fill the community in on my component, providing more details and a timeline.

    My Privacy Component will be entering a private alpha early next week. After the alpha phase is complete, it will then be available as a public Beta. If it goes well, and Andy likes it, it may be included in the BP core for version 1.2. If you look at the BP roadmap, you will see that that is when privacy filtering is scheduled to be included in core.

    In this screen capture of one of the privacy setting screens, you can see that there are actually six user classification filters that can be chosen for each BP object. The sixth option, “Relationship Mapped”, is made available by a separate plugin which I’ll be releasing later. The default Privacy Component will offer five levels.

    My current estimated release date for the first public beta is the week of October 5. This date may change depending on the feedback from the alpha phase.

    More Details

    This is taken from the Privacy Component’s current readme.txt file:

    BPAz is a privacy control component for BuddyPress that provides a site’s users a mechanism with which to control who has access to which pieces of their personal data.

    == Description ==

    The BuddyPress Authorization component (also referred to as BPAz, BP-Authz, or BuddyPress Privacy Component) is a BuddyPress component that allows users fine, granular control over who has access to which pieces of their personal data. It provides this service by hooking into BuddyPress’ core functionality, thereby giving users the ability to control (grant or deny) access to each piece, or grouping of, their personal data.

    The term “auth” is often used interchangeably for authentication or authorization. There is significant difference in meaning between them. Authentication is not authorization. Authorization is not authentication. Authentication must come before authorization. Authentication is handled by WPMU, initially by the registration process and subsequently by the login script. Authorization deals with verifying and managing the access rights a given authenticated user has to certain objects.

    Because of this confusion, the process of authentication is now often referred to as A1, or AuthN, or simply Au. The process of authorization is now often referred to as A2, or AuthZ, or simply Az. Since authentication must come before authorization, the A1-A2 ordinality of the terms is evident. This also explains the alternate names BPAz and BP-Authz.

    BPAz deals with authorization by verifying and managing access rights an authenticated user has to other’s objects–although a user may choose to expose their data to non-logged in users as well.

    The core BuddyPress objects on which rights can be set:

    • xprofile fields
    • activity stream actions
    • friends list
    • groups list
    • messaging
    • blogs
    • wire
    • status updates

    The basic access levels configurable per object (some objects offer only a subset of these rights):

    • allow/deny anyone (globally public or globally private). This is accomplished by setting an object’s viewing rights to either “All Users” or “Only Me”
    • allow only “Logged in Users” to view a given object
    • allow only friends to view a given object
    • allow only a specific list of users to view a given object. This is also called per user access control. This is accomplished by setting an object’s viewing rights to “These Users Only” and then entering a comma-separated list of usernames (a member’s login name) in a textbox that becomes visible.

    NOTE: Per relationship-type access control is possible if you use my BuddyPress Relationship Mapping plugin. For instance, allow by friend, colleague, partner, client, customer, fan, etcetera.

    Site Administration of BuddyPress User Privacy Tools

    Site administrators have ultimate control and oversight over the configuration of BPAz’s features and functionality via an additional administration panel under the BuddyPress menu hierarchy. The BuddyPress Privacy Component is enabled by default for all object groupings. However, Site Administrators can disable user-configurable sitewide privacy, or even individual privacy control objects, by using the Privacy Settings administration panel. As the Site Administrator, you will always be able to see each user’s complete content. Users do not have any options to hide content from Site Administrators.

Viewing 101 replies (of 101 total)

  • techguy


    Jeff talked about it a bit at the dev chat. He’s still waiting for a few patches to the core to be able to release the plugin. I think his intent was to have the patches for the core done this weekend for the .6 release that should come out later next week (if all goes well). Or maybe that’s the intent I am hoping @jeffsayre will have.

    I bet dropping a donation on Jeff’s page wouldn’t hurt to move things along either:

Viewing 101 replies (of 101 total)
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