Strengths and Weaknesses of Location-Based Service Mechanisms

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Location-Based Service (LBS) is one of the most popular mobile services today, which offers wide range of services that are based on information about the physical location of a user or device. Typical LBS includes real-time turn-by-turn directions, find Points of Interest (POI) or social network services such as Facebook, Foursquare, Loopt, and Qype. However, user location privacy of is a major concern in today's mobile applications and there has been significant research dedicated to address this issue. Various location privacy preserving mechanisms (LPPMs) have been used to preserve the privacy of the location information of mobile users. This survey aims to present the privacy preserving mechanisms employed in the Location based services. Moreover, the LPPMs are classified into cryptographic and non-cryptographic mechanisms, and taxonomy of the mechanisms is also discussed. Furthermore, the classification and comparison of different mechanisms are presented based on the probability distribution attack. Also the strengths and weakness of different mechanisms are highlighted.

The development of new technologies has deeply influenced the traditional mobile networks which uses user location information for data transmission. However, recently the user location information has been extensively employed for location-based-services (LBS). In mobile networks, privacy is the major concern as it doesn't have a clear line of protection. The location-based services refer to a wide range of services that are based on information about the physical location of a user or device. Typical LBS includes social networking services such as Facebook ~\cite{Facebook:2014:fb} or Foursquare ~\cite{Foursquare:2014:fs}, where the user shares his/her current location to friends by check-in to places such as restaurants, cinemas. Other examples of friend finding services such as Loopt ~\cite{Loopt:2014:lp}, which finds all the friends within the users region and Qype ~\cite{Qype:2014:qp} helps the user to find his/her POI such as restaurants or cinemas and enhances given information by providing features like coupons or special offers. Many users share their position/location movement trajectory information to service providers in real-time and to estimate real-time traffic data from the accumulated positions.

Although the location-based service has the benefit of providing location specific information to the user, it comes at the cost of privacy. As the user accesses the LBS applications, he/she will reveal location details and sensitive personal information such as where they live, their lifestyle (for example: visiting a hospital, restaurant or cinema), etc. When the user position is revealed, there is possibility that the user's location may get attacked or could be misused for mugging or stalking by allowing an adversary to infer delicate information of user movements. The usage of these services may raise severe location privacy concerns as discussed in...

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