User privacy risks and protection in WLAN-based indoor positioning
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Using location-based services (LBS) is the new trend for mobile users. LBS mostly exploit GPS and WLAN infrastructures for outdoor and indoor environments, respectively, in order to determine a user's location. After a location is known to a LBS, the network can provide location related contextual information such as nearby events, places, or navigation for the mobile users. Currently, LBS have been specically growing rapidly in the domain of indoor positioning as more public places, e.g. schools, shopping centers, and airports are being equipped with WLAN networks. The aforementioned situation leads to the fact that huge amount of tracking data gets possessed by a wide variety of different LBS and it poses the risk of location privacy violation of citizens. The problem is not only that this information reveals the places that a person has visited, but that it can also expose their behaviors and habits to the LBS and associated third parties. The conditions exacerbate as there are no appropriate regulations on how the tracking data is used by the LBS. In addition, the LBS data servers are under constant attacks by third parties who seek to access this kind of valuable data. Furthermore, the private sector has initiated the tracking of their customers in such places as shopping malls by means of simply collecting their MAC addresses. The thesis is divided into two parts. In the literature part of this thesis, different indoor positioning techniques, location privacy leaks, and the solutions to tackle the problem will be explained. In the second part, we show practical implementation examples about how and at what extent a user may be positioned by the network, based simply on the mobile MAC address or using jointly MAC and signal strength information.