A Policy-Based Approach to Location Privacy Protection
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Bell, Blair James Henry
Privacy issues related to location have been extensively researched over the past few decades, but their focus has tended to fixate upon the achievement of what is commonly referred to as k-anonymity. However, the assumption which underlies this concept is fundamentally flawed, as the service provider tends to already know the identity of the individual using the service. This paper instead studies the possibilities of a policy-based approach to safeguarding location privacy, i.e. is current privacy and ethical data use legislation sufficient in the age of ubiquitous computing? The prior is determined by consolidating a range of legislative critiques from the literature, and by public online surveying to gauge the mood of society towards such issues. The results indicate that there are clear omissions and weaknesses in the current legislative framework in relation to the protection of location privacy. This paper puts forward the idea that new legislation is required to suitably protect the sensitive nature of location information, and develops a supporting legislative guideline document, informed by concepts and ideas which spawn from a virtual brainstorming session and online survey. Informed by such results, this paper argues that strong legal protections, in tandem with strong computational protections, is the most advantageous approach to suitably protect location privacy in this information age.
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