Privacy for LBSs: On using a footprint model to face the enemy

Mauro Conti, Roberto Di Pietro, Luciana Marconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


User privacy in Location Based Services (LBSs) is still in need of effective solutions. A new privacy model for LBSs has been recently proposed based on users’ footprints—these being a representation of the amount of time a user spends in a given area. The model is claimed to be independent from the specific knowledge of the adversary about users’ footprints. Despite this claim, we show in this chapter that when the adversary has a knowledge that differs from the one considered for the anonymization procedure, the model is not valid. Further, we generalize this weakness of the model and show that it is highly probable that the footprint model provides: (i) either a privacy level lower than the expected one; or, (ii) a LBS information coarser than what would be required for anonymization purposes.We support our claim via analysis: modeling the footprints data as an hypercube model; with a simple example to grasp the main problem; and, with the study of a real data set of traces of mobile users. Finally, we also investigate which properties must hold for both the anonymiser and the adversary knowledge, in order to guarantee an effective level of user privacy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-195
Number of pages27
JournalStudies in Computational Intelligence
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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