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Privacy in Location Based Services (LBS) via Composite Functions: The L4NE Protocol


Levent Ertaul


Vol. 17  No. 3  pp. 117-123


Location Based Services (LBS) are increasingly accessed through mobile devices. This trend forced companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, and Foursquare to provide services which incorporate location information of users. The information of an individual’s location has great significance. Today, almost all devices such as mobile wireless phones and tablets have GPS to gather the location information of their users. Despite concerns of the users about the privacy, security and third-party use of their private location information, these LBS services mushroomed everywhere. Still, even today, LBS service providers, in spite of user’s legitimate privacy concerns, are unwilling to build private LBS systems in which they don’t have access to users' location information. The major issue in sharing location information is the level of privacy. The level of privacy in LBS is provided by using private equality testing and/or private proximity testing protocols. In these protocols, when Bob is nearer to Alice at some location within a defined proximity then the exact location of Bob is revealed. Otherwise both parties learn nothing about each other’s location. And a third party or a service provider gains no information about the users' locations. So, to solve the privacy problem in LBS, in this paper, we present a novel security protocol, called the L4NE, based on composite functions. This protocol achieves privacy without revealing the exact location of Bob/Alice to each other unless they are in the same exact location. By doing so, they are able to achieve the privacy requirements in LBS. The proposed L4NE protocol also achieves high security with high performance. And it does not require any secret sharing, any secure key distribution protocol or any trusted/untrusted servers.


Location Based Services (LBS), Privacy, Private Equality Testing, Private Proximity Testing.