The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data

Kostas Drakonakis*, Panagiotis Ilia*, Sotiris Ioannidis*, Jason Polakis† *FORTH, Greece | †University of Illinois at Chicago


The availability of location information has enabled a wide range of novel functionality. However, the exposure of such data can constitute a significant privacy risk to users. In this project, we conducted a comprehensive exploration of the risks that arise due to the overcollection and oversharing of location information in Twitter and demonstrate new techniques for inferring a user's key locations (i.e. home and work), as well as sensitive information that can be revealed by reconstructing her location history. Specifically, we present the first of its kind approach to automatically infer the user's peronal and sensitive traits, pertaining to health, religion and sex/nightlife, by placing her in relevant venues based on the content of her tweets and the duration of visits to each such location.

Research Paper

Details of our research can be found in the following paper:

Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data [PDF][BibTex]

Kostas Drakonakis, Panagiotis Ilia, Sotiris Ioannidis, Jason Polakis
in Proceedings of the 26th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS), February 2019


Is any data available to the public?

We have made our manually curated wordlists public so as to aid further research towards the inference of sensitive information based on user content. See below for download info. However, we have not released nor stored any user timelines and groundtruth information due to the sensitive nature of that data.

How to cite data or the paper?

If you use our wordlists or otherwise conduct research related to our work, please cite our paper:

@inproceedings {location_inference_2019,
	author = {Kostas Drakonakis and Panagiotis Ilia and Sotiris Ioannidis and Jason Polakis},
	title = {Please Forget Where I Was Last Summer: The Privacy Risks of Public Location (Meta)Data},
	booktitle = {26th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium},
	year = {2019},
	publisher = {The Internet Society},

Download data

You can dowload our wordlists from here:

Wordlists as txt files


For any questions or suggestions, please email