I Know What You Did Last Summer: risks of location data leakage in mobile and social computing

Jedrzejczyk, Lukasz; Price, Blaine A.; Bandara, Arosha K. and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2009). I Know What You Did Last Summer: risks of location data leakage in mobile and social computing. Technical Report 2009/11; Department of Computing, The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0001608c

Abstract

Advances in mobile and web technologies have brought unwanted access to often sensitive data, ranging from our personal details, where we work, where we live and even behavioral patterns. The increasing use of social networks and location-aware mobile applications raise a number of concerns, including the issue of ensuring users" privacy. In order to explore those concerns we conducted an exploratory study in re-identifying people based on their movements and publicly available information. We observed anonymous users of a location-based social networking application in their natural environment and demonstrated how to re-identify them based on that data. In addition to discovering location-based private data, we were also able to find quite a number of facts from their private lives. This article reports on the methodology we used, ethical issues related to informed consent and user"s reaction to the fact of being re-identified.

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