Automatic Privacy and Utility Preservation for Mobility Data: A Nonlinear Model-Based Approach

Sophie Cerf*, Sara Bouchenak, Bogdan Robu, Nicolas Marchand, Vincent Primault, Sonia Ben Mokhtar, Antoine Boutet, Lydia Y. Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The widespread use of mobile devices and location-based services has generated a large number of mobility databases. While processing these data is highly valuable, privacy issues can occur if personal information is revealed. The prior art has investigated ways to protect mobility data by providing a wide range of Location Privacy Protection Mechanisms (LPPMs). However, the privacy level of the protected data significantly varies depending on the protection mechanism used, its configuration and on the characteristics of the mobility data. Meanwhile, the protected data still needs to enable some useful processing. To tackle these issues, we present PULP, a framework that finds the suitable protection mechanism and automatically configures it for each user in order to achieve user-defined objectives in terms of both privacy and utility. PULP uses nonlinear models to capture the impact of each LPPM on data privacy and utility levels. Evaluation of our framework is carried out with two protection mechanisms from the literature and four real-world mobility datasets. Results show the efficiency of PULP, its robustness and adaptability. Comparisons between LPPMs' configurators and the state of the art further illustrate that PULP better realizes users' objectives, and its computation time is in orders of magnitude faster.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8554145
Pages (from-to)269-282
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • configuration control
  • location-dependent and sensitive
  • modeling and prediction
  • Security and privacy protection
  • security, integrity, and protection


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