Skip to Main Content
Effective data forwarding is critical for most mobile social network (MSN) applications such as content distribution and information searching. However, it could severely be interrupted or even disabled when the privacy preservation of users is applied, because users become unrecognizable to each other, and the social ties and interactions are no longer traceable to facilitate cooperative data forwarding. Therefore, how we can enable efficient user cooperation in MSNs without intruding on user privacy is a challenging issue. In this paper, we address this issue by introducing social morality, which is a fundamental social feature of human society, to MSNs and accordingly design a three-step protocol suite to achieve both privacy preservation and cooperative data forwarding. First, the developed protocol adopts a novel privacy-preserving route-based authentication scheme that notifies a user's anonymized mobility information to the public. Second, it measures the proximity of the user's mobility information to a specific packet's destination and evaluates the user's forwarding capacity for the packet. Third, using a game-theoretical approach, it determines the optimal data-forwarding strategy according to users' morality level and payoff. Using analysis and examples, we show that the developed protocol suite can effectively protect user personal information such as identity and visited locations. Last, we conduct extensive trace-based simulations and show that the proposed protocol suite is effective for efficiently exploring the user cooperation and attain near-optimal performance in data forwarding.