Using a Find Me App Without Compromising Your Privacy

Your location can reveal much private information: from where you live and work to who your friends are, and even if you are travelling or at home. But still, there are times when you wish to share your whereabouts. You call your friend to inform them of which restaurant you are dining at. Less lightheartedly, you inform the fire department of your home address in the event of a fire.

We all share our location from time to time - this is an unavoidable fact of life. But sensibly, we should only share our location under certain circumstances. Solutions for location tracking are generally all-or-nothing: you opt not to share your location, or you let your phone track where you are and it shares this information with a nominated person. We think there’s a better way to manage this challenge.

A Different Way to Manage Your Private Data

We built PAD as a means to share access to private information, without automatically disclosing that information. We believe there are many occasions when we reasonably wish to share private information, but want to retain some transparency as to whether that information has been used, and by whom. One example is sharing our location data.

By integrating PAD with a more traditional find-me application, it’s possible to share the ability to access your location with a trusted person, without needing to share your actual location at all times. If needed, your sharing partner can access your location, but this will immediately notify you that your location has been accessed. No central authority can view that information, and a tamper-proof ledger prevents access without notification.

Using a ‘Find-Me’ application built on PAD, only the ability to access your location is shared - and your location data is shared only when needed. The trusted party that you nominate can access your location at any time that he wants - whether the request is appropriate or not.

This is crucial; many of the times you would want to share your location data are when you would be unable to explicitly allow it - for example if you are injured during an outdoor activity. If you find that your trust is being abused - and your location is accessed at inappropriate times, you will be aware of this immediately and can change who you have entrusted with the ability to access your location.

User experience

Here’s how we envision a Find-me application being used.

  1. Alice downloads the application on her phone.
  2. She accepts to share her data with Bob, whom she identifies with a phone number. Bob gets a notification of this on his phone, which he must accept.
  3. That’s all for Alice - she can monitor whether her secret has been decrypted.
  4. Bob can see who has shared with him and can choose whether to decrypt by a simple click.
  5. If he does, he sees the data and Alice gets a notification. Bob has no way to access Alice’s location without triggering this notification.

How to build a Find-Me app with PAD

It is easy to build a Find-me application with PAD. The PAD API handles everything related to the cryptography and immutable records of decryption - leaving you free to pursue adapting and tailoring your application to your purpose. You can see how the PAD API works in our developer document microsite.

We’re continuing to build out PAD, and developing some of these use cases. You can keep up with our journey by following our twitter handle @PADtech_team.