Providing privacy-aware incentives in mobile sensing systems

Qinghua Li, Guohong Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Mobile sensing relies on data contributed by users through their mobile device (e.g., smart phone) to obtain useful information about people and their surroundings. However, users may not want to contribute due to lack of incentives and concerns on possible privacy leakage. To effectively promote user participation, both incentive and privacy issues should be addressed. Although incentive and privacy have been addressed separately in mobile sensing, it is still an open problem to address them simultaneously. In this paper, we propose two credit-based privacy-aware incentive schemes for mobile sensing systems, where the focus is on privacy protection instead of on the design of incentive mechanisms. Our schemes enable mobile users to earn credits by contributing data without leaking which data they have contributed, and ensure that malicious users cannot abuse the system to earn unlimited credits. Specifically, the first scheme considers scenarios where an online trusted third party (TTP) is available, and relies on the TTP to protect user privacy and prevent abuse attacks. The second scheme considers scenarios where no online TTP is available. It applies blind signature, partially blind signature, and a novel extended Merkle tree technique to protect user privacy and prevent abuse attacks. Security analysis and cost evaluations show that our schemes are secure and efficient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7206578
Pages (from-to)1485-1498
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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