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Geoprivacy Talk @ UJI Castellòn


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Abstract: As location‐enabled technologies are becoming ubiquitous, our location is being shared with an ever‐growing number of external services. Issues revolving around location privacy — or geoprivacy — therefore concern the vast majority of the population, largely without knowing how the underlying technologies work and what can be inferred from an individual’s location (especially if recorded over longer periods of time). Research, on the other hand, has largely treated this topic from isolated standpoints, most prominently from the technological and ethical points of view. This talk will therefore reflect upon the current state of geoprivacy from a broader perspective. It integrates technological, ethical, legal, and educational aspects and clarifies how they interact and shape how we deal with the corresponding technology, both individually and as a society. The fictional couple of Jane and Tom is used as a running example to illustrate how common it has become to share our location information, and how it can be used — both for good and for worse.

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Geoprivacy Talk @ UJI Castellòn

  1. 1. GEOINFORMATICS AALBORG UNIVERSITY COPENHAGEN Every move you make: An update on the state of GEOPRIVACY Carsten Keßler | Aalborg University Copenhagen | @carstenkessler 1
  2. 2. Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take I'll be watching you 2
  3. 3. Every breath you take Every move you make Every bond you break Every step you take I'll be watching you 3
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  5. 5. Keßler, C. & McKenzie, G., 2018. A geoprivacy manifesto. Transactions in GIS, 22(1), pp.3–19. 5
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  8. 8. Meet Jane After Jane wakes up to the chime of her smartphone’s alarm, she brings up the weather app to check how to dress for the day. While she skims her inbox, her phone brings up an alert, telling her that her commute might take a little longer today because of construction work on her subway line. She quickly gets ready and leaves the house, to make sure she will not be late for work, and swipes her monthly pass to enter the subway station. Since the construction work only caused a few minutes’ delay in her commute, she still has time to stop at her favorite coffee shop, using her credit card to pay for a cappuccino. When she enters the office building she works in, her phone brings up the reminder she had set the day before to make sure she downloads the client presentation she had been working on last night from her cloud storage to her office computer. 8
  9. 9. Meet Tom Jane’s husband Tom left the house early this morning for a two-day meeting out of town. He did not really mind the 2 hr drive, since this was his first opportunity for an extended trip in his brand new car. When he purchased it the week before, he had signed up for the roadside assistance plan after his old station wagon had left him stranded several times. Following the GPS instructions, he takes the toll bridge to get out of town and onto the highway. Before he arrives at the meeting, he decides to find a place for breakfast, checking for online ratings and recommendations first. Later that day, Tom goes out to have dinner with his colleagues, checking in at the restaurant with his favorite social network to let his friends know about their fantastic selection of red wines. After paying with his company credit card, he uses the limousine app on his phone to find a nearby driver to take him back to the hotel. 9
  10. 10. Location data shared with ... The weather app provider, the operator of the digital assistant, the subway operator, two credit card companies, the reminder app, the cloud storage provider, the roadside assistance provider, the toll station operator, the restaurant ratings service, the social network, and the limousine app service 10
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  12. 12. Two categories — Concrete lat/lon position, usually provided by GPS or mobile device's location services — Places or objects that can easily be located, e.g. toll station, subway gate, or restaurant name 12
  13. 13. What is geoprivacy? "A special type of information privacy which concerns the claim of individuals to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent location information about them is communicated to others. In short, control of location information is the central issue in location privacy." (Duckham & Kulik, 2006, p. 36). 13
  14. 14. What is geoprivacy? "It refers to the ability of an individual to move in public spaces with a reasonable expectation that their location will not be systematically and secretly recorded for later use by a third party." (Kerski & Clark, 2012 as cited by Kerski, 2016). 14
  15. 15. Why a manifesto? — State and reflect on the state of the art — Formulate goals and challenges — Trigger a discussion in the community — Allows you to voice your opinion, not just scientific facts ⇢ 21 theses on geoprivacy 15
  16. 16. Yet again, spatial is special 16
  17. 17. Thesis 1: Information about an individual’s location is substantially different from other kinds of personally identifiable information. 17
  18. 18. Thesis 2: Ubiquitous positioning devices and easy- to-use APIs make information about an individual’s location much easier to capture than other kinds of personally identifiable information. 18
  19. 19. Case in point: Android mFusedLocationClient.getLastLocation() .addOnSuccessListener(this, new OnSuccessListener<Location>() { @Override public void onSuccess(Location location) { // Got last known location. //In some rare situations this can be null. if (location != null) { // Logic to handle location object } } }); 19
  20. 20. Thesis 3: Users of information services have a substantial incentive to share their location with service providers, as location information can significantly improve the quality of a service and make it more useful. 20
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  23. 23. Thesis 4: Users often share their current location unknowingly. 23
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  26. 26. Thesis 5: Having access to a user’s location history allows for a broad range of location-based inferences, such as information about their health, consumer behavior, or social status. 26
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  28. 28. Thesis 6: Location-based inferences can reveal information that the user never intended or agreed to share with a service. 28
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  30. 30. Thesis 7: Incorrect location-based inferences can have severe adverse effects for affected individuals, with little or no opportunity to rectify these errors. 30
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  32. 32. Economic value of location information 32
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  35. 35. Thesis 8: Knowing a customer’s location is an economic asset for a business. 35
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  37. 37. Thesis 9: Users value their own location information based on level of detail and use case. 37
  38. 38. Thesis 10: A new market is currently emerging in which businesses and users directly trade personal- level location information. 38
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  41. 41. Thesis 11: Discounts for customers who agree to share their location with a business are effectively penalizing customers who refuse to do so, and may erode the solidarity principle behind collective insurance. 41
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  43. 43. Safeguarding geoprivacy 43
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  45. 45. Thesis 12: Preserving geoprivacy involves more than obfuscating geographic coordinates. Location can be inferred from non-explicit geospatial information such as interests, activities, and socio- demographics. 45
  46. 46. Digital exhaust Let's say I'm careful to keep any location information off Facebook, but I like the pages of FC København, Aalborg University Copenhagen, Vega music club, etc. ⇢ How hard will it be to figure out where I live? 46
  47. 47. Thesis 13: Any location-based service offered to a user is limited by the amount of private information the user is willing to share. 47
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  49. 49. Thesis 14: Mobile operating systems lack fine- grained control mechanisms for location services, thus severely limiting the degree of control users have over their location information. 49
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  51. 51. Thesis 15: An individual’s level of geoprivacy cannot be reliably assessed because it is impossible to know what auxiliary information a third party may have access to. 51
  52. 52. Tell-all telephone 52
  53. 53. Legal and ethical aspects 53
  54. 54. Thesis 16: The ethical ramifications of advances in location-enabled technology are often viewed as an afterthought and legal concerns over privacy aspects lag behind technological advances. 54
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  56. 56. Geoprivacy as a tension field 56
  57. 57. Thesis 17: Geoprivacy as a research topic is situated in a tension field between technological, ethical, economical, legal, and educational aspects that have only been addressed separately so far. 57
  58. 58. Economic Interest driven by leverages enable provide offer depends on has is looking for provides installs and uses influence use influences influence regulate implement Ethical Considerations Legal Framework Tools Service Provider Technological Developments User Location Information Precision Information and Education Utility share data with Third Party Services and Businesses 58
  59. 59. Thesis 18: Users often have no way of checking whether the location-aware services and devices they use act within the legal and ethical frameworks and adhere to the provided description and privacy policy. 59
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  62. 62. Thesis 19: A higher level of user education in the area of position tracking and location-based services is required to allow them to make more informed decisions about the tools and services they are using. 62
  63. 63. Anecdotal evidence that there is room for improvement... Several students in my undergraduate Digital Earth class thought that the satellite element of the GPS system could track each individual GPS receiver 63
  64. 64. Thesis 20: A better-educated user base can push for more restrictive legislation and force service providers to be more transparent about their data collection and use policies. 64
  65. 65. The political dimension of geoprivacy 65
  66. 66. Thesis 21: Constant surveillance of citizens’ locations can be used as a tool for oppression and to limit freedom of speech, even in democracies. 66
  67. 67. . . See ZDNET and NY Times 67
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  69. 69. Privacy is an achievement of modern civilization, and not just a mere "blip in human history" % % Weigend, A. (2017). Data for the people: How to make our post-privacy economy work for you. New York, NY: Basic Books. P. 47. 69