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A lightweight approach to managing privacy in location-based services

Research output: Working paper

Unpublished
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Publication date2002
PublisherLancaster University
Number of pages9
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Location-based services (LBS) and context-aware systems typically exploit the tracking of people to offer personalised services. Examples of these sorts of applications include allowing vulnerable people to summon help to their current location, providing personalised guidance, ordering a taxi and finding the nearest cash point. To provide such services, information about the users' location needs to be published to one or more service providers (possibly third party organisations.) Key factors in the acceptance of such systems are preservation of control and awareness of dissemination of this information; people using these services do not want to be under surveillance. The fundamental difference between tracking and surveillance is who is in control. There is little or no provision for access control to location information in current systems. In this paper we offer a scheme whereby users can reveal their position to trusted parties whenever they want to, and retain control over the dissemination of their position to others. Furthermore, our scheme does not compromise the ability of the service provider to offer their services to users or gather statistical and demographic information on the systems' usage.