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Master Thesis: Enabling spatio-temporal privacy policies on mobile devices


Enabling spatio-temporal privacy policies on mobile devices



Location based services gained importance over the last years. They can be realized in a reactive or proactive manner. The former act on behalf of the user who requests a service. The current location of the user is then sent to a server which is providing a service based on the user’s position. Proactive location based services notify the user when a predefined event occurs. Such an event might be entering or leaving a specific area, denoted as a geofence. For providing the service, the user’s positions are permanently synchronized with the server. This means that the user is tracked in the background. As devices are capable of gathering precise location information almost anywhere and any time, this raises concerns regarding the user’s privacy. Because location based services provide a high value to the user, e.g. navigation systems, they are widely accepted by the users. But with the publications of the massive surveillance by the NSA and other public institutions and private corporations the users lost their trust in these to handle their private and sensitive data in rightful and harmless ways. This thesis provides a solution enabling users to actively allow or deny a location being shared thus giving them back control over when and where they share their location data. This is realized with a device-based privacy framework. To the best of the author’s knowledge this is the first approach allowing situation-specific spatio-temporal privacy policies for enforcing the user’s privacy needs. With this users can define where and when and how precise they want to send location information to the server, respectively deny such a location update being sent. The privacy framework introduced in this thesis is a proof of concept incorporated into an existing Geofencing system. Evaluating the system showed that the framework is feasible on mobile devices as it is energy efficient and has no impact on the user interaction with the device.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Axel Küpper, Bersant Deva, Sandro Rodriguez Garzon

Type: Master Thesis

Duration: 6 months



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