A secure architecture enabling end-user privacy in the context of commercial wide-area location-enhanced web services
Candebat, Thibault (2005) A secure architecture enabling end-user privacy in the context of commercial wide-area location-enhanced web services. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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Mobile location-based services have raised privacy concerns amongst mobile phone users who may need to supply their identity and location information to untrustworthy third parties in order to access these applications. Widespread acceptance of such services may therefore depend on how privacy sensitive information will be handled in order to restore users’ confidence in what could become the “killer app” of 3G networks.
The work reported in this thesis is part of a larger project to provide a secure architecture to enable the delivery of location-based services over the Internet. The security of transactions and in particular the privacy of the information transmitted has been the focus of our research. In order to protect mobile users’ identities, we have designed and implemented a proxy-based middleware called the Orient Platform together with its Orient Protocol, capable of translating their real identity into pseudonyms.
In order to protect users’ privacy in terms of location information, we have designed and implemented a Location Blurring algorithm that intentionally downgrades the quality of location information to be used by location-based services. The algorithm takes into account a blurring factor set by the mobile user at her convenience and blurs her location by preventing real-time tracking by unauthorized entities. While it penalizes continuous location tracking, it returns accurate and reliable information in response to sporadic location queries.
Finally, in order to protect the transactions and provide end-to-end security between all the entities involved, we have designed and implemented a Public Key Infrastructure based on a Security Mediator (SEM) architecture. The cryptographic algorithms used are identitybased, which makes digital certificate retrieval, path validation and revocation redundant in our environment. In particular we have designed and implemented a cryptographic scheme based on Hess’ work , which represents, to our knowledge, the first identity-based signature scheme in the SEM setting. A special private key generation process has also been developed in order to enable entities to use a single private key in conjunction with multiple pseudonyms, which significantly simplifies key management.
We believe our approach satisfies the security requirements of mobile users and can help restore their confidence in location-based services.
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