Location privacy techniques in client-server architectures

Christian S. Jensen, Hua Lu, Man Lung Yiu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


A typical location-based service returns nearby points of interest in response to a user location. As such services are becoming increasingly available and popular, location privacy emerges as an important issue. In a system that does not offer location privacy, users must disclose their exact locations in order to receive the desired services. We view location privacy as an enabling technology that may lead to increased use of location-based services. In this chapter, we consider location privacy techniques that work in traditional client-server architectures without any trusted components other than the client's mobile device. Such techniques have important advantages. First, they are relatively easy to implement because they do not rely on any trusted third-party components. Second, they have potential for wide application, as the client-server architecture remains dominant for web services. Third, their effectiveness is independent of the distribution of other users, unlike the k-anonymity approach. The chapter characterizes the privacy models assumed by existing techniques and categorizes these according to their approach. The techniques are then covered in turn according to their category. The first category of techniques enlarge the client's position into a region before it is sent to the server. Next, dummy-based techniques hide the user's true location among fake locations, called dummies. In progressive retrieval, candidate results are retrieved iteratively from the server, without disclosing the exact user location. Finally, transformation-based techniques employ cryptographic transformations so that the service provider is unable to decipher the exact user locations. We end by pointing out promising directions and open problems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPrivacy in Location-Based Applications
Subtitle of host publicationResearch Issues and Emerging Trends
Number of pages28
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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