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Mobile Smartphone users frequently need to search for nearby points of interest from a location based service, but in a way that preserves the privacy of the users' locations. The authors present a technique for private information retrieval that allows a user to retrieve information from a database server without revealing what is actually being retrieved from the server. They perform the retrieval operation in a computationally efficient manner to make it practical for resource-constrained hardware such as Smartphones, which have limited processing power, memory, and wireless bandwidth. In particular, their algorithm makes use of a variable-sized cloaking region that increases the location privacy of the user at the cost of additional computation, but maintains the same traffic cost.
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