BeepTrace: blockchain-enabled privacy-preserving contact tracing for COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Xu, H. , Zhang, L. , Onireti, O. , Fang, Y., Buchanan, W. J. and Imran, M. A. (2021) BeepTrace: blockchain-enabled privacy-preserving contact tracing for COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 8(5), pp. 3915-3929. (doi: 10.1109/JIOT.2020.3025953)

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The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has exposed an urgent need for effective contact tracing solutions through mobile phone applications to prevent the infection from spreading further. However, due to the nature of contact tracing, public concern on privacy issues has been a bottleneck to the existing solutions, which is significantly affecting the uptake of contact tracing applications across the globe. In this paper, we present a blockchain-enabled privacy-preserving contact tracing scheme: BeepTrace, where we propose to adopt blockchain bridging the user/patient and the authorized solvers to desensitize the user ID and location information. Compared with recently proposed contact tracing solutions, our approach shows higher security and privacy with the additional advantages of being battery friendly and globally accessible. Results show viability in terms of the required resource at both server and mobile phone perspectives. Through breaking the privacy concerns of the public, the proposed BeepTrace solution can provide a timely framework for authorities, companies, software developers and researchers to fast develop and deploy effective digital contact tracing applications, to conquer COVID-19 pandemic soon. Meanwhile, the open initiative of BeepTrace allows worldwide collaborations, integrate existing tracing and positioning solutions with the help of blockchain technology.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:COVID19, Coronavirus, digital contact tracing, privacy-preserving, distributed system, blockchain, distributed ledger technology, pandemic, BeepTrace.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Imran, Professor Muhammad and Zhang, Professor Lei and Onireti, Oluwakayode and Xu, Mr Hao
Authors: Xu, H., Zhang, L., Onireti, O., Fang, Y., Buchanan, W. J., and Imran, M. A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Systems Power and Energy
Journal Name:IEEE Internet of Things Journal
ISSN (Online):2327-4662
Published Online:22 September 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 IEEE
First Published:First published in IEEE Internet of Things Journal 8(5): 3915-3929
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
304481Resource Orchestration for Diverse Radio SystemsLei ZhangEngineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)EP/S02476X/1ENG - Systems Power & Energy