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Supporting Secure Dynamic Alert Zones Using Searchable Encryption and Graph Embedding

by   Sina Shaham, et al.
University of Southern California
Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Location-based alerts have gained increasing popularity in recent years, whether in the context of healthcare (e.g., COVID-19 contact tracing), marketing (e.g., location-based advertising), or public safety. However, serious privacy concerns arise when location data are used in clear in the process. Several solutions employ Searchable Encryption (SE) to achieve secure alerts directly on encrypted locations. While doing so preserves privacy, the performance overhead incurred is high. We focus on a prominent SE technique in the public-key setting – Hidden Vector Encryption (HVE), and propose a graph embedding technique to encode location data in a way that significantly boosts the performance of processing on ciphertexts. We show that finding the optimal encoding is NP-hard, and provide several heuristics that are fast and obtain significant performance gains. Furthermore, we investigate the more challenging case of dynamic alert zones, where the area of interest changes over time. Our extensive experimental evaluation shows that our solutions can significantly improve computational overhead compared to existing baselines.


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