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Survey of Decentralized Solutions with Mobile Devices for User Location Tracking, Proximity Detection, and Contact Tracing in the COVID-19 Era

1
Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences, Tampere University, Korkeakoulunkatu 1, 33720 Tampere, Finland
2
Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers, University “Politehnica” of Bucharest, Splaiul Independenței 313, 060042 Bucharest, Romania
3
Institute of New Imaging Technologies, Universitat Jaume I, Avda. Sos Baynat, 12071 Castellón de la Plana, Spain
4
Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communication, Brno University of Technology, Technická 3058/10, 616 00 Brno, Czechia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2020 / Revised: 13 September 2020 / Accepted: 21 September 2020 / Published: 23 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Featured Reviews of Data Science Research)
Some of the recent developments in data science for worldwide disease control have involved research of large-scale feasibility and usefulness of digital contact tracing, user location tracking, and proximity detection on users’ mobile devices or wearables. A centralized solution relying on collecting and storing user traces and location information on a central server can provide more accurate and timely actions than a decentralized solution in combating viral outbreaks, such as COVID-19. However, centralized solutions are more prone to privacy breaches and privacy attacks by malevolent third parties than decentralized solutions, storing the information in a distributed manner among wireless networks. Thus, it is of timely relevance to identify and summarize the existing privacy-preserving solutions, focusing on decentralized methods, and analyzing them in the context of mobile device-based localization and tracking, contact tracing, and proximity detection. Wearables and other mobile Internet of Things devices are of particular interest in our study, as not only privacy, but also energy-efficiency, targets are becoming more and more critical to the end-users. This paper provides a comprehensive survey of user location-tracking, proximity-detection, and digital contact-tracing solutions in the literature from the past two decades, analyses their advantages and drawbacks concerning centralized and decentralized solutions, and presents the authors’ thoughts on future research directions in this timely research field.
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Keywords: Internet of Things (IoT) mobile devices; wearables; location estimation; user tracking; proximity detection; contact tracing; decentralized architectures; blockchain; Received Signal Strength (RSS); Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE); COVID-19 Internet of Things (IoT) mobile devices; wearables; location estimation; user tracking; proximity detection; contact tracing; decentralized architectures; blockchain; Received Signal Strength (RSS); Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE); COVID-19
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shubina, V.; Holcer, S.; Gould, M.; Lohan, E.S. Survey of Decentralized Solutions with Mobile Devices for User Location Tracking, Proximity Detection, and Contact Tracing in the COVID-19 Era. Data 2020, 5, 87. https://doi.org/10.3390/data5040087

AMA Style

Shubina V, Holcer S, Gould M, Lohan ES. Survey of Decentralized Solutions with Mobile Devices for User Location Tracking, Proximity Detection, and Contact Tracing in the COVID-19 Era. Data. 2020; 5(4):87. https://doi.org/10.3390/data5040087

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shubina, Viktoriia, Sylvia Holcer, Michael Gould, and Elena S. Lohan. 2020. "Survey of Decentralized Solutions with Mobile Devices for User Location Tracking, Proximity Detection, and Contact Tracing in the COVID-19 Era" Data 5, no. 4: 87. https://doi.org/10.3390/data5040087

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