INSURE – Information Security of Location Estimation and Navigation Applications

Positioning and navigation technologies include satellite-based systems, i.e. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), as well as non-GNSS techniques for determining the position of a person or an object of interest. Many navigation systems are also capable of providing precision timing. Such systems are increasingly being used in safety- and/or security-critical applications such as aviation, autonomous vehicles, and emergency services, as well as synchronization within communication systems, financial infrastructures, power grids, etc. This makes navigation technologies not only an obvious target for malicious attacks but also a critical point-of-failure in case of unintentional disruption.

The growth in vulnerabilities has far outpaced the spread in public and authorities’ awareness, as well as development of mitigation techniques. In short, the security and privacy aspects of positioning and timing technologies have been scarcely addressed.

The proposed project aims to create (1) beyond state-of-the-art knowledge for improving robustness of GNSS receivers against jamming and spoofing, (2) advanced methods for improving user privacy and information security in non-GNSS positioning, and (3) legislative solutions in terms of policy and regulatory recommendations for improving the privacy of end-user data exchanged in location-based services. This project integrates the expertise of five research groups within Finland, resulting in a transdisciplinary consortium. The combined expertise areas include positioning and navigation technologies, sensor fusion, statistical analysis, communication and automation engineering, cryptography, and information law.

The core partners in the consortium are the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute, Tampere University of Technology (two departments involved), Aalto University, and University of Helsinki, supported by a number of complementary collaborators and industry partners from the EU and the USA, each at the leading edge of research in their respective technology domains. The successful implementation of the project is expected to positively impact novel technology and algorithm development, its commercialization potential, its influence on future regulations, and its significance in shaping the public perception about secure, privacy-strengthened, and robust location-based applications and services. This research work will complement Finland’s existing position as a front-runner in location-based ecosystems.