Differentially private and skew-aware spatial decompositions for mobile crowdsensing

Jong Seon Kim, Yon Dohn Chung, Jong Wook Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Mobile Crowdsensing (MCS) is a paradigm for collecting large-scale sensor data by leveraging mobile devices equipped with small and low-powered sensors. MCS has recently received considerable attention from diverse fields, because it can reduce the cost incurred in the process of collecting a large amount of sensor data. However, in the task assignment process in MCS, to allocate the requested tasks efficiently, the workers need to send their specific location to the requester, which can raise serious location privacy issues. In this paper, we focus on the methods for publishing differentially a private spatial histogram to guarantee the location privacy of the workers. The private spatial histogram is a sanitized spatial index where each node represents the sub-regions and contains the noisy counts of the objects in each sub-region. With the sanitized spatial histograms, it is possible to estimate approximately the number of workers in the arbitrary area, while preserving their location privacy. However, the existing methods have given little concern to the domain size of the input dataset, leading to the low estimation accuracy. This paper proposes a partitioning technique SAGA (Skew-Aware Grid pArtitioning) based on the hotspots, which is more appropriate to adjust the domain size of the dataset. Further, to optimize the overall errors, we lay a uniform grid in each hotspot. Experimental results on four real-world datasets show that our method provides an enhanced query accuracy compared to the existing methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3696
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1D1A1B03028097).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Differential privacy
  • Histograms
  • Mobile crowdsensing
  • Spatial databases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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