Towards Practical Methods to Protect the Privacy of Location Information with Mobile Devices

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Smartphones and tablet computers continue to replace traditional mobile phones and are used by over one billion people worldwide. A number of novel security and privacy challenges result from the possibility to extend the functionality of smartphones with third-party applications. These third-party applications require that users provide personal information to third-party applications in exchange for additional features. This paper focuses on one specifically sensitive information requested by third-party applications, namely: location information. We discuss current methods to protect the privacy of location information and evaluate two approaches in depth. First, we introduce an extension to improve the usability of current interception methods on an operating system level. Second, we evaluate the applicability of proxy-level interception on basis of real-world Android applications. Our findings significantly extend the state-of-the-art regarding the protection of location information on mobile devices and further highlight open research challenges.
  author = {Hochreiner, Christoph and Huber, Markus and Merzdovnik, Georg and Weippl, Edgar},
  title = {Towards Practical Methods to Protect the Privacy of Location Information with Mobile Devices},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Security of Information and Networks},
  series = {SIN '14},
  year = {2014},
  isbn = {978-1-4503-3033-6},
  location = {Glasgow, Scotland, UK},
  pages = {17--24},
  articleno = {17},
  numpages = {8},
  url = {},
  doi = {10.1145/2659651.2659680},
  acmid = {2659680},
  publisher = {ACM},
  address = {New York, NY, USA},
  keywords = {Android, location obfuscation, mobile computing, privacy protection}