Location Privacy in Spatial Crowdsourcing



Spatial crowdsourcing (SC) is a new platform that engages individuals in collecting and analyzing environmental, social and other spatiotemporal information. With SC, requesters outsource their spatiotemporal tasks (tasks associated with location and time) to a set of workers, who will perform the tasks by physically traveling to the tasks’ locations. However, current solutions require the locations of the workers and/or the tasks to be disclosed to untrusted entities (SC server) for effective assignments of tasks to workers.

This chapter first identifies privacy threats toward both workers and tasks during the two main phases of spatial crowdsourcing, tasking and reporting. Tasking is the process of identifying which tasks should be assigned to which workers. This process is handled by a spatial crowdsourcing server (SC server). The latter phase is reporting, in which workers travel to the tasks’ locations, complete the tasks and upload their reports to the server. The challenge is to enable effective and efficient tasking as well as reporting in SC without disclosing the actual locations of workers (at least until they agree to perform a task) and the tasks themselves (at least to workers who are not assigned to those tasks).

This chapter aims to provide an overview of the state-of-the-art in protecting users’ location privacy in spatial crowdsourcing. We provide a comparative study of a diverse set of solutions in terms of task publishing modes (push vs. pull), problem focuses (tasking and reporting), threats (server, requester and worker), and underlying technical approaches (from pseudonymity, cloaking, and perturbation to exchange-based and encryption-based techniques). The strengths and drawbacks of the techniques are highlighted, leading to a discussion of open problems and future work.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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