Patent number 8559927 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Unless otherwise indicated herein, the materials described in this section are not prior art to the claims in this application and are not admitted to be prior art by inclusion in this section.
"The recovery of the location of a mobile device, such as a cellular telephone or a smart phone, is the basis for a wide range of Location-Based-Services (LBS). A Location Based Service is an information service, accessible to mobile devices through the cellular network utilizing the geographical position of the mobile device. Location based services can be used in a variety of contexts, such as health, work, personal, and entertainment by identifying the location of an individual or object using the position of the mobile device and providing the individual with information regarding various service providers in the proximate location as the individual. LBS can include sending advertising directed at customers based on their location, personalized weather services, locations of restaurants, gas stations, other businesses, and comparable services.
"Transferring user location information in LBS may be privacy concern. Therefore, various privacy protection methods have been developed. One of the methods for privacy protection involves sending anonymous information or false dummies along with the user's real location information. For example, if the user is sending four sets of anonymous location information in addition to the user's real location information, there are five sets of location information in total. Therefore, spatial cloaking effect can be achieved. However, transmitting and receiving a large amount of irrelevant data may degrade channel efficiency. For each set of anonymous location information sent, a number of LBS offers may be received, clogging communication channels, which typically have a limited bandwidth. Furthermore, in pay-per-data-amount type plans, users may quickly use up their allocated data amounts. Yet another concern may be power usage on mobile devices, which is also typically limited in availability and continuous use of location determination services such as GPS to generate dummy data may waste valuable battery power."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "The present disclosure describes a method for protecting location privacy by employing dummy information when using location based services. The method may include connecting to a location based service (LBS) provider and submitting a user's actual location and a first sub-group of dummy locations to the LBS provider. The first sub-group may be selected among a total group of dummy locations based on one or more constraints comprising an available bandwidth, a power consumption of a computing device connecting to the LBS provider, and/or a service requirement of the LBS provider. The method may further include receiving location based service data associated with a second sub-group of dummy locations and the user's actual location from the LBS provider, where the second sub-group is a subset of the first sub-group.
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