Date of Award

8-2003

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Spatial Information Science and Engineering

Advisor

Harlan J. Onsrud

Second Committee Member

Silvia Nittel

Third Committee Member

David Steiger

Abstract

The rapid development of location-determining technologies has enabled tracking of people or objects more accurately than ever before and the volume and extent of tracking has increased dramatically over time. Within the broader domain of tracking technologies, location-based services (LBS) are a subset of capabilities that allow users to access information relative to their own physical location. However, the personal location information generated by such technologies is at risk of being misused or abused unless protection capabilities are built into the design of such systems. These concerns may ultimately prevent society from achieving the broad range of benefits that otherwise would be available to consumers. The assumption of the emerging location-based industry is that corporations will own and control location and other information about individuals. Traditionally, privacy has been addressed through minimum standard approaches. However, regulatory and technological approaches focused on "one size fits all" standards are ill equipped to accommodate the interests of individuals or broad groups of users. This research explores the possibility of developing an approach for protecting privacy in the use of location-based services that supports the autonomy of an individual through a combined technological and legal model that places the power to protect location privacy in the hands of consumers. A proof of concept user interface to illustrate how personal information privacy could be protected in the conceptual model is demonstrated. A major goal of this project is to create an operational vision supporting user controlled protection of privacy that can help direct technological efforts along appropriate paths.

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