PrivLoc: Preventing Location Tracking in Geofencing Services

Jens Mathias Bohli, Dan Dobre, Ghassan O. Karame, Wenting Li

Location-based services are increasingly used in our daily activities. In current services, users however have to give up their location privacy in order to acquire the service. The literature features a large number of contributions which aim at enhancing user privacy in location-based services. Most of these contributions obfuscate the locations of users using spatial and/or temporal cloaking in order to provide k-anonymity. Although such schemes can indeed strengthen the location privacy of users, they often decrease the service quality and do not necessarily prevent the possible tracking of user movements (i.e., direction, trajectory, velocity). With the rise of Geofencing applications, tracking of movements becomes more evident since, in these settings, the service provider is not only requesting a single location of the user, but requires the movement vectors of users to determine whether the user has entered/exited a Geofence of interest. In this paper, we propose a novel solution, PrivLoc, which enables the privacy-preserving outsourcing of Geofencing and location-based services to the cloud without leaking any meaningful information about the location, trajectory, and velocity of the users. Notably, PrivLoc enables an efficient and privacy-preserving intersection of movement vectors with any polygon of interest, leveraging functionality from existing Geofencing services or spatial databases. We analyze the security and privacy provisions of PrivLoc and we evaluate the performance of our scheme by means of implementation. Our results show that the performance overhead introduced by PrivLoc can be largely tolerated in realistic deployment settings.

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