Preserving Users’ Location Privacy in Mobile Platforms

Patel, Asma Salim (2018) Preserving Users’ Location Privacy in Mobile Platforms. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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Abstract

Mobile and interconnected devices both have witnessed rapid advancements in computing and networking capabilities due to the emergence of Internet-of-Things, Connected Societies, Smart Cities and other similar paradigms. Compared to traditional personal computers, these devices represent moving gateways that offer possibilities to influence new businesses and, at the same time, have the potential to exchange users’ sensitive data. As a result, this raises substantial threats to the security and privacy of users that must be considered. With the focus on location data, this thesis proposes an efficient and socially-acceptable solution to preserve users’ location privacy, maintaining the quality of service, and respecting the usability by not relying on changes to the mobile app ecosystem. This thesis first analyses the current mobile app ecosystem as to apply a privacy-bydesign approach to location privacy from the data computation to its visualisation. From our analysis, a 3-Layer Classification model is proposed that depicts the state-ofthe- art in three layers providing a new perspective towards privacy-preserving locationbased applications. Secondly, we propose a theoretically sound privacy-enhancing model, called LP-Cache, that forces the mobile app ecosystem to make location data usage patterns explicit and maintains the balance between location privacy and service utility. LP-Cache defines two location privacy preserving algorithms: on-device location calculation and personalised permissions. The former incorporates caching technique to determine the location of client devices by means of wireless access points and achieve data minimisation in the current process. With the later, users can manage each app and private place distinctly to mitigate fundamental location privacy threats, such as tracking, profiling, and identification. Finally, PL-Protector, implements LP-Cache as a middleware on Android platform. We evaluate PL-Protector in terms of performance, privacy, and security. Experimental results demonstrate acceptable delay and storage overheads, which are within practical limits. Hence, we claim that our approach is a practical, secure and efficient solution to preserve location privacy in the current mobile app ecosystem.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Dedicated to my father, mother, sister and brothers for their unconditional love and support. I am grateful to everyone who has contributed to the completion of my Ph.D. thesis in their own particular way. I want to take this opportunity to express my special thanks and appreciation for all the help I received. First of all, I would like to thank my Ph.D. supervisor and director of studies, Dr. Esther Palomar, for her insightful suggestions, expert guidance and also personal support. She has always encouraged, helped and assisted me in this research, even while she was on her maternity leave. Ever since I have worked with her, she has always motivated me to bring my best to every task. Secondly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Hanifa Shah for believing in me and always willing to help. I want to thank her for many things, in particular, for creating the research environment within the faculty; providing the funding for my Ph.D. research; being supportive academically and emotionally through the difficult times that helped me stay focused and motivated to finish this research. I am also grateful to her for finding the time to comment and proofread my work at short notice. She has always been an inspiration to me. A special acknowledgment to my colleague and my very dear friend, Sikander Khan, for being a source of positivity and encouragement during my research and in my life. I want to thank him for his constant motivation and providing a positive environment within the faculty and the University where I can forget my stress, refresh my mind viii and overcome challenges. His presence never made me miss my family and he always helped me stay cheerful. In my Ph.D. journey, I was fortunately accompanied by my best friend, Salameh Abu Rmeileh, who is also a fellow PhD student at BCU. I am very grateful to him for being patient, caring and supportive in every aspect. He has been a source of knowledge with his commendable programming skills and computing competency, and I seek his advice on critical decisions. I would also like to express my gratefulness to all my colleagues and research admin staff from the School of Computing and Digital Technology and the faculty of Computing Engineering and Built Environment at BCU. Due to the research environment created and sustained by Professor Shah, I have got to know many Ph.D. students, postdocs, researchers and professors who have helped me enhance my research. I would like to single out, Dr. Gerald Feldman. Thanks to all of them and my friends within the Faculty, the University and outside. Since July 2017, I started working in the School of Computing and Digital Technology at Staffordshire University, and I would like to thank the school for their support and help. And lastly, but most importantly, I express my deep gratitude to my family for their unconditional love and support. I want to thank: my sister, Asiya, for all the love and always staying late with me on phone calls during my difficult days; and both of my brothers, Wasim and Asif, for their love, support and encouragement. I am eternally indebted to my parents for giving me everything I need, and they have never asked for anything in return. Everything I achieved in my life, I owe it to my parents.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Location Privacy, Location Based Services, Location Based Services, Location Based Applications, Mobile Apps, Smartphones, Mobile Platforms, Caching, Privacy Preservation, Android
Subjects: G400 Computer Science
G500 Information Systems
Divisions: REF UoA Output Collections > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2019 15:16
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2019 15:16
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7241

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