On the effectiveness of removing location information from trajectory data for preserving location privacy
AffiliationComputing and Information Systems
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2017 Amina Hossain
The ubiquity of GPS enabled smartphones with Internet connectivity has resulted in the widespread development of location-based services (LBSs). People use these services to obtain useful advises for their daily activities. For example, a user can open a navigation app to find a route that results in the shortest driving time from the current location to a destination. Nevertheless, people have to reveal location information to the LBS providers to leverage such services. Location information is sensitive since it can reveal habits about an individual. LBS providers are aware of this and take measures to protect user privacy. One well established and simple approach is to remove GPS data from user data working with the assumption that it will lead to a high degree of privacy. In this thesis, we challenge this notion of removing location information while retaining other features would lead to a high degree of location privacy. We find that it is possible to reconstruct the original routes by analyzing just the turn instructions provided to a user by a navigation service. We evaluated our approach using both synthetic and real road network data and demonstrate the effectiveness of this new attack in a range of realistic scenarios.
Keywordstrajectory privacy; navigation privacy; inference attack
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