Binghamton University computer engineers in the United States have created an app that will encrypt your location whenever you are searching online for things so that third party services aren’t able to detect where you are.
The app uses PGP or public key encryption in order to encrypt the location, so whenever a user makes searches on Google, or if they use other apps that use location services like Foursquare or Facebook, then an encrypted form is sent to the service provider. They are able to see the user’s request, but they aren’t able to see the location.
According to Linke Guo, an assistant professor at Binghamton University, the service provider can’t decrypt the location. The team has been working on the prototype since the beginning of 2015.
Unfortunately, even if you have the app, this doesn’t stop Facebook from tracking your location if you are using their app. Researchers are hoping that the service providers can be persuaded to include this really cool privacy protection tool in all of their apps.
Guo explained that 5 years ago no one really cared about privacy, but now everyone cares about it, and people are reading privacy agreements before they download the app. Location-based service providers may be able to enable this feature within their apps and give the user a chance to hide their location.
Within 5 years, providers like Facebook and Google will have to compromise on using locations for business profit as users are already beginning to leave Twitter and Facebook due to privacy leakages. If they don’t want to lose any business, then they will take action.
The researchers are hoping to be able to release the app for Android on Google Play for free, but eventually, they will require additional funding and are actively searching for commercial partners to join in on the project.