Privately Find Nearby Aid Stations

As part of our work on the DARPA Brandeis program, we provided backend support for a privacy-preserving system enabling individual users to locate nearby emergency aid stations in crisis scenarios.  In such crisis scenarios, particularly if malicious actors are involved, the potential need for location privacy is twofold – not only are the locations of individuals seeking aid highly sensitive, but the locations of emergency aid stations themselves may also be dynamic and sensitive.  Depending on the particular crisis scenario, it may be undesirable to reveal user locations to aid stations or vice versa through communication in the clear, particularly when communication data may be intercepted by malicious actors.

Our backend uses MPC between a user seeking aid and the various aid stations, to identify the closest aid station to the user without revealing the user’s location to the stations or the stations’ locations to the user.  Once the closest station location is identified by the backend, directions can be sent to the user to navigate to the station, or the user’s location can be sent to the closest aid station in case the stations are mobile and/or have the capability of retrieving users at their current locations.

This work was supported by DARPA and NIWC Pacific under Contract No. N66001-15-C-4065, Distribution Statement A: “Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited. If you have any questions, please contact the Public Release Center”. The views, opinions and/or findings expressed are those of the author and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.