Bellrock: Anonymous Proximity Beacons from Personal Devices
2018 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, PerCom 2018
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Zidek, A., Tailor, S., & Harle, R. (2018). Bellrock: Anonymous Proximity Beacons from Personal Devices. 2018 IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications, PerCom 2018 https://doi.org/10.1109/PERCOM.2018.8444603
Proximity beacons provide simple, low-cost location data. However, beacon deployments remain rare. In this paper we introduce Bellrock, a framework that repurposes static personal devices (phones, laptops, etc.) as proximity beacons without revealing the location of the device owners, and provides conventional beacons with access control. This is done by using mutable pseudo-anonymous identifiers that can be unmasked by a cloud service. We develop Bellrock as a general framework, describing the repurposing scheme and the anonymisation techniques, before applying it to Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. We implement and demonstrate the scalability of the de-anonymisation server, which uses a series of heuristics. We implement a Bellrock client on Android and demonstrate negligible impact on battery lifetime. We evaluate Bellrock using extensive real-world office worker movements. We find that Bellrock was able to provide proximity locations for 8,542 of the 21,796 failed locations that would have occurred without it. We further find that office workers were in range of one or more of their co-workers over 90\% of the time, indicating Bellrock can provide relative proximity information even in the absence of a conventional beacon deployment. Overall, we find that Bellrock is both feasible and practical, providing a beacon deployment where there was none, or supplementing existing deployments.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/PERCOM.2018.8444603
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/274254