What Does the Crowd Say About You? Privacy Issues in Aggregate Location Data

Carmela Troncoso is an assistant professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne EPFL

Carmela Troncoso, assistant professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne EPFL

Abstract:

Information about whereabouts is often used to support smart services and applications, e.g., generating live traffic maps or predicting visits to businesses. In this setting, rather than collecting or sharing raw data, entities often use aggregation as a privacy protection mechanism, aiming to hide individuals’ location traces.

In this talk, I will present our work evaluating the use of aggregation as a privacy-preserving mechanism for location time series. I will focus mainly on three attacks: profiling (how much aggregates reveal about users’ movement patterns), localization (how much aggregates reveal about users’ punctual locations), and membership (how much aggregates reveal about which users contribute to the published statistics). I will also show that using typical differential privacy mechanisms to enhance privacy is ineffective at protecting users against these attacks.

Bio:

Carmela Troncoso is an assistant professor in computer science at the École Polyétéchnique Federale De Lausanne EPFL. Her research focuses on privacy-related topics, with a special interest in anonymous communications and location privacy. She is also interested in developing the concept of privacy engineering, in particular in finding systematic ways of evaluating the privacy protection provided by privacy-preserving mechanisms.