Arvind Narayanan : 2010 Security Workshop


Friday, April 30, 2010
Location: Fisher Conference Center, Arrillaga Alumni Center

"Location Services with Built-In Privacy"


Location-aware mobile devices are ubiquitous today but the uptake of location-based services has been slower than predicted. Privacy concerns are one major reason for slow adoption.

I will talk about recent research that takes a cryptographic approach to location privacy. We show how to enable a limited range of location functionality - detecting when friends are nearby - with mathematical a privacy guarantee. This can be achieved without the server having to track the users' locations.

We implemented our system on the Android platform. One challenge that arose is establishing shared secret keys between users in the absence of a public-key infrastructure. We were able to tackle this problem in a novel way, which I will describe.

There are many unsolved challenges in improving privacy for location services, such as location-based advertising. This research is more of a first step than a final solution. Joint work with Dan Boneh, Narendran Thiagarajan and Mugdha Lakhani.


Arvind Narayanan has a Ph.D from the University of Texas at Austin and is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University. His research interests are data anonymization, privacy, web security and social networks. His paper on de-anonymization of large sparse datasets with Vitaly Shmatikov received the 2008 PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies.