KNN search-based trajectory cloaking against the Cell-ID tracking in cellular network

  • Yuanbo Cui
  • Fei Gao
  • Hua ZhangEmail author
  • Wenmin Li
  • Zhengping Jin
Methodologies and Application


The widely used smartphone with powerful positioning capability makes it easy for a user to find his precise physical location. However, this may reveal a user’s geo-location information, making the real-time tracking of the user possible. For example, on the basis of a sequence of numbers (i.e., Cell-IDs) received in the Cell-ID positioning, an entity can gain access to a person’s movement routes without his consent. We argue that if the trajectory of a person is traced, then all his visits may be exposed. Therefore, trajectory cloaking against the mobile positioning is urgently necessary. In this paper, we propose a dummy base station replacement (DBSR) algorithm. It mainly uses the idea of dummy trajectory anonymity and is achieved by replacing the true Cell-ID provided by the network with a fake but nearby Cell-ID. We also implement our DBSR algorithm on an Android-based smartphone to evaluate its performance. Experimental results show that the DBSR algorithm can efficiently tackle the privacy breach caused by the single-base-station positioning in cellular network.


Cellular network Cell-ID positioning Hausdorff distance Trajectory privacy KNN search 



This work is supported by NSFC (Grant No. 61502044), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant No. 2015RC23).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Networking and Switching TechnologyBeijing University of Posts and TelecommunicationsBeijingChina

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