Location, Time and Privacy

Apart from a small cadre of experts, few people have given serious consideration to the effects that would be posed to society if positioning systems, such as the Global Positioning System (GPS), were to face widespread disruptions. Virtually every segment of society and industry would be negatively impacted: emergency services, civil protection authorities, the financial industry including stock markets, transportation (including road transport, maritime, aviation, and rail), communications, power distribution, and logistics, just to name a few areas. The Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS) provide not only positioning services but also precision timing services. While both are critically importantin modern society, the importance of timing services to critical infrastructures, such as power distribution systems, is even more severely overlooked.

The security of location information should be considered not just on a macroscopic societal scale but also on a personal level. The rising use of disruptive devices such as PPD is rooted in the increased concerns over personal privacy regarding location tracking technology. The threat of unwanted interception of location information impacts the personal safety of individuals, and there are many reported criminal cases where location information has either been maliciously intercepted or unintentionally revealed.

The INSURE project will help protect location information generated by personal devices against being used maliciously or otherwise against the users’ wishes, which has worldwide impact. From a commercial view-point the results of this project will offer the consortium and especially the industrial partners a leading edge in the field of robust and security-enhanced positioning solutions. If the solutions are designed to be suitable for integration in mass-market devices, they can benefit Finland economically by inclusion in future “robust” positioning devices. Thus, the research on information security in the domain of positioning and navigation has considerable national and international significance.

Accurate, secure and privacy-preserving geo-location information is expected to boost the future wireless markets manyfold. Already, location information is a key component of many services that are both creative and serving the society, such as mobility-based gamification for the elderly for healthier ageing, guiding blind people, motivational bonuses for good driving patterns, etc. Future services based on autonomous vehicles such as driverless cars or unmanned aerial vehicles rely also on reliable localization. The added value of the security and privacy components to be developed in this project will help in developing better and more attractive mobile services, as well as facilitating the large-scale adoption of LBS.

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