A team of researchers at a US university has developed an app that blocks third parties from identifying an individual’s location based on what they search for online.
“The trend of people using searches and social networks on smartphones which aren’t well-protected is going up. Sometimes people share too much information. This is a way to help provide some security,” said Linke Guo, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton University who led the team.
“With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others we provide a huge amount of data to the service providers every day. In particular, we upload personal photos, location information, and daily updates to the internet without any protection,” Guo added.
There is a chance for tragedy if that information is used in a bad way, warned Guo.
“When we release personal information to the internet, it is out of our control, and can be easily searched and used for malicious purposes,” Guo said.
“We are trying to provide a more efficient and feasible solution to make sure that kind of information is secure,” he added.
Smartphones send gobs of data to servers in the background of local searches, GPS directions or check-ins for foodie apps. If the app developed by Guo and his team is developed further, it could help hide that information.
Guo’s team received the “best paper” award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) GLOBECOM Conference in San Diego recently.