Vehicular ad hoc networks are frequently used in today’s society in order to promote communication between different vehicles within the same infrastructure. People can use the Internet, being on the roads, and get online help in a short period of time. Still, as soon as people start using VANETs in their automobiles, they start thinking about the possibility of tracking and the inability to keep all information safe and secret. This survey aims at investigating the peculiar features of VANETs and the reasons for why privacy location is defined as one of the most serious concerns in the field. Several alternatives on how to enhance privacy in VANET are discussed in this survey to inspire people on further investigations and improvements in the automobile industry.
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Nowadays, the progress of the Internet cannot be neglected because it determines the quality of human lives, the possibilities to own business, and the necessity to develop relations at different levels. Not long time ago, the idea of Wi-Fi was unfamiliar to millions of people. Today, the presence of Wi-Fi is one of the main requirements in all industries because a great number of vehicles have to be connected online every day . Technicians and researchers spend much time to find out the most effective and applicable ways to involve as many routers as possible. However, the process of searching of such methods is usually costly and complicated due to the existing traffic problems and high users’ expectations.
People cannot refuse an idea of Wi-Fi in their cars or other transportation means. Therefore, in the early 2000s, new technology, now known as VANET, was introduced. VANET is a vehicular ad hoc network and one of the most significant advances that unite wireless communication technologies with the automobile industry and promotes the possibility of care movement similar to nodes in a mobile network . There are many advantages of this technology including the promotion of security and safety on roads and the development of vehicle mobility and active connectivity in VANET . However, in addition to the positive aspects of the work of VANETs, people still have some doubts in regards to such issues as privacy, personal freedoms, and independence.
Location privacy remains to be one of the main challenges in the work of VANETs. On the one hand, people want to have direct access to their cars and learn the opportunities they may have. On the other hand, it is necessary to protect vehicles from being tracked . Privacy in VANETs bothers millions of people, who have already tried this technology on their cars because it concerns all users’ anonymity and the possibility to protect the information about locations.
Besides, people want to know how to protect their own identities and not be confused with pseudonyms . The pseudonym changing approach is one of the most frequently used suggestions for people, who want to underline the importance of the location privacy among drivers . Though it is not the only method for consideration, people find it one of the easiest ways regarding the current state of affairs and the opportunities offered.
Besides, it is necessary to analyze the importance of such information as beacons (i.e. timestamp, positions, or speed) and the possibility to track people even if they want to stay anonymous . Enhancing of privacy and safety is the task many organizations try to deal with . It is not enough to prove that location privacy is the concept that has to be re-evaluated. It is necessary to think about the methods that are available to people in order to use the technologies but not at the expense of drivers’ privacy.
The works by such researchers as Eze, Emara, Grassi, Boualouache, and Xingjun will be used in the survey to analyze what has been already discovered, and what questions remain to be open at the moment of writing a survey. In each article, there is a clear explanation of what VANET is, what its main characteristics, and why it is necessary to develop new technologies. Though the solution of the location privacy concept is not the goal in all these studies, these discussions help to clarify why people are still bothered by the effectiveness of VANET.
The primary goal of this survey is to explore the location privacy concept in VANETs. In order to meet it, the following objectives have to be taken into consideration as well:
- the discussion of the role of the Internet in everyday activities;
- the definition and main characteristics of VANET;
- the development of VANET during the last years;
- the evaluation of location privacy concerns;
- the investigation of possible alternatives for VANET in terms of privacy.
In general, the survey should help to find out the latest achievements of VANET and discuss why location privacy issues continue bothering people even after they were provided with the technologies that may facilitate their lives.
Today, people cannot neglect the fact that they become dependent on the Internet and want to use as many appropriate sources as possible in order to connect their everyday lives with different networks . The Internet is used to make purchases, get an education, communicate, develop business relations, get access to the required information, share personal experience and knowledge, and find the answers to any possible questions.
As a rule, people use the Internet to read the latest news or observe current changes in the world. Very often, people rely on the Internet to learn human history and the achievements in different spheres of life. Sometimes, people believe that they could use the Internet to find out their future. Therefore, the possibilities of the Internet do not have actual boundaries. Still, people also want to use the Internet in order to improve the current state of affairs.
Every decade provides people with new technological opportunities and processes that may facilitate the process of accomplishment business and personal goals. At the beginning of the 2000s, many improvements were achieved in the automobile industry. Though people are satisfied with the existing automobile models and variety, people cannot gain control over trafficking. Therefore, the attention was paid to the solution of the traffic problems.
It is necessary to comprehend if the current traffic problems may be solved with the help of new technologies. However, it was complicated to comprehend how the Internet could be used to solve traffic problems or facilitate the necessity to obtain as much information on the location of automobiles or their further destinations as possible. It was expected to promote inter-vehicle communication, and the vehicular ad hoc network labs are introduced to study the possibilities of such wireless connected automobiles. Still, the development of this technology leads to the creation of new problems and concerns. In this survey, the discussion of VANET worth and its main challenges will be developed to explain how the Internet development may change human lives.
VANET: Main Characteristics
VANET is not a completely new technology. It was introduced at the beginning of the 2000s. It was defined as a technology with the help of which vehicles may communicate with each other . In fact, people may enjoy the possibility to use the technology and exchange kinematic data between different vehicles within the same environment . Mobile vehicles can move randomly, and this technology determines traffic flow control, routing path selection, and management of mobile channels . At the same time, people are bothered with the necessity to share different vehicle information and the inability to stay private on network radars.
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Location privacy is the concern that challenges the technology considerably . Different researchers offer their own visions on how to improve the system. For example, it was offered to use pseudonym changing approach and standardize the exchange of information . However, such suggestion removed the main benefit of the technology that is having true and direct information on vehicle location.
Another idea was based on the obfuscation of beacons and the minimization of the impact on the quality of services . Cryptosystems are also developed as the possibility to ensure vehicles’ anonymity and the use of pseudonyms . All these ideas and characteristics of VANET have reasons and could be developed in different environments. Still, in order to comprehend how to enhance privacy for information security, it is necessary to investigate the development of the process based on the use of VANET, underline the existing factors that touch upon location privacy, and create a list of alternatives and improvements that may be offered.
Development of VANET
Today, the developers of VANET try to focus on different aspects of the work. First, a certain attention is paid to the development of a new mobility trend . Such mobility model is based on the realistic trace data gathered from typical situations. Cars move, and the mobility model helps to reduce or simply cut that trace data in order to introduce clear and fair proportions . The analysis of this model is properly developed by Zhang and the team. They proved that radio transmissions play an important role in communication that occurs between different vehicles because it may prove or disprove the balance between the power of consumption and wireless link stability .
There are two fundamental characteristics of vehicular networks: ad hoc, intermittent connectivity and the ability to transport networking data physically . Therefore, the main benefit of this technology is the possibility to organize the information and control traffic of any size. In this situation, the speed of the Internet access has to be high because it determines the quality of transformation of information from the vehicles on computers making virtual information available to a car and its residents. Such technology helps to promote safety concerns and divide time in regards to the tasks that have to be performed and the expectations that have to be established.
In vehicular networks, broadcasting techniques and mechanisms also matter because they create solid conditions to make solutions and investigate the actual state of affairs . There may be productive time that is defined as dead time because vehicles should spend much time in trafficking without any ability to accomplish the tasks required and as live time when vehicles take steps and complete tasks in regards to the expectations established.
VANETs can be used to inform a vehicle and its owner about the presence of traffic jam beforehand so that it is possible to change the road and choose another, appropriate and less time-consuming options. At the same time, VANETs provide a vehicle and its users with the presence of the Internet regardless the location zone. Therefore, such services as GoogleTalk, Viber, and Skype may be available to solve other problems while the changes in route occur.
In additional to such characteristics as mobility, time, wireless communication, and rapidly changing topology, it is necessary to mention unbounded network size and to use applications that may be safety-related, which are used to eliminate the probability of traffic accidents and deaths on roads, and non-safety-related, which cover such aspects as comfort and commercial success .
Finally, it is necessary to remember that VANET is a network. It is a self-organizing wireless network that consists of certain elements, which are vehicles, also known as nodes, infrastructure that includes the environment where a vehicle exists, and a number of communication channels by means of which the exchange of information occurs.
Location Privacy Analysis
Taking into consideration the peculiar feature of VANETs, it is possible to admit that such types of networks contain much personal information. Therefore, it is expected that one day, a person or a number of people address the concept of location privacy. In fact, location privacy has already become one of the main challenges in the work of VANETs because it is necessary to know how to protect vehicles, as direct participants of the network, against tracking . People want to use the progress and gain control of vehicles and other aspects of human life.
At the same time, an ethical dilemma takes place because, on the one hand, people want to know as much as possible about other people and their traffic, and on the other hand, it is hard for people to admit the fact that they have to share their own personal information. Besides, the Internet may be as a productivity tool in an automobile, as well as a serious distraction for drivers that may result in poor and unstable safety and the development of time-wasting concerns.
Regarding such challenges and threats, the question of privacy remains to be a crucial aspect for consideration because people want to be confident that all information is private, and no one can identify a driver or use the information about past experiences and directions. There is a strong correlation between a vehicle and a driver . If the user of the network can find the information on another driver’s position, the concerns of disclosure of critical information may be developed. People can easily lose the control of their lives and be under different threats that may come from different sources. For example, a person may visit a hospital because of different reasons.
When an employer gets to know about such visit, the interest in such employee may be lost, and the opportunities cannot be returned . Besides, personal relations may be under threat of such traffic information being disclosed. Some information has to stay as a secret. Such technologies as VANET cannot break the secrecy, but focus on the improvements that facilitate human lives.
Location Privacy Alternatives
VANET are priceless technologies that promote comfort and control in automobiles. It is wrong to neglect their impact because of the concern that is connected with location privacy. Therefore, it is necessary to think about the alternatives that can be offered to enhance privacy in such mechanisms. After the evaluation of several studies, it is possible to conclude that the use of pseudonyms is one of the most frequent approaches that may be available to ordinary people, who use VANET regularly. For example, vehicles should use different pseudonyms each time an activity occurs regarding a change policy of VANET . In other words, the history should not be available to all users of the system.
In their turn, the beacons, which are usually set because of the necessity to report of a current position, speed, and heading, make people and their vehicles vulnerable to tracking . Therefore, the pseudonym changing system may be offered as an alternative. Still, it cannot be the only option. Its credibility is under a serious question. Therefore, it is possible to offer people to develop a system within the frames of which the precise information has to be given only every period of time, and between, inaccurate information may be given. Besides, VANET’s laboratories may hire people, who create a special secure group the goal of which is to prevent online attacks and control broadcasting of information .
Another strategy should be based on the Vehicular Privacy Zone and aims at providing an appropriate and safe changing of pseudonyms in regards to the road safety . It is not enough to promote pseudonyms in VANETs. It is necessary to study people how to change them and not to break the work of the whole system. People should use the Internet and avoid traffic jams. However, they should never do it at the expense of their privacy and the changes in their personal and professional lives.
The obfuscation scheme is also the solution with a number of benefits . It puts the liability on drivers when people understand what kind of information has to be given online and what information has to stay unknown during the whole working process. The investigations of messages that may be stored in vehicles and the history of traffics have to be improved legally .
Finally, cryptosystems may be used to protect location privacy in VANETs . All pseudonyms processes should be generated in order to track misbehaving vehicles only and to enlarge the anonymity size, including speed, directions, identities, and locations.
In general, the analysis of location privacy in VANETs shows that people cannot be satisfied with all their discoveries and achievements. As soon as one great thing is offered, it is possible to find a number of doubts and concerns. It is hard to find the balance between advantages and disadvantages of VANETs. Still, the review of the literature on VANET and privacy issues helps to realize that people have many options, and they are able to improve the current state of affairs and enhance privacy policies by means of cryptosystems and pseudonyms.
- G. Grassi, D. Pesavento, G. Pau, R. Vuyyuru, R. Wakikawa, and L. Zhang. “VANET via Named Data Networking,” in Computer Communications Workshops (INFOCOM WKSHPS), 2014 IEEE Conference, 2014, pp. 410-415.
- E.C. Eze, S. Zhang, and E. Liu. “Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs): Current State, Challenges, Potentials and Way Forward,” in Automation and Computing (ICAC), 2014 20th International Conference, 2014, pp. 176-181.
- L. Zhang, A. Lakas, H. El-Sayed, and E. Barka. “Mobility Analysis in Vehicular Ad Hoc Network (VANET),” J. Netw Comput Appl, vol. 36, no. 3, pp.1050-1056. 2013.
- K. Emara. “Location Privacy in Vehicular Networks,” in World of Wireless, Mobile and Multimedia Networks (WoWMoM), 2013 IEEE 14th International Symposium and Workshops, 2013, 1-2.
- A. Boualouache, S. M. Senouci, and S. Moussaoui. “VLPZ: The Vehicular Location Privacy Zone,” Proc Comput Sci, vol. 83, pp.369-376, 2016.
- K. Emara, W. Woerndl, and J. Schlichter. “On Evaluation of Location Privacy Preserving Schemes for VANET Safety Applications,” Comput Commun, vol. 63, pp.11-23, 2015.
- S. Xingjun and X. Huibin. “An Effective Scheme for Location Privacy in VANETs,” J Netw, vol. 9, no. 8, p.2239-2244. 2014.