Location obfuscation is a technique used in location-based services or information systems to protect the location of the users by slightly altering, substituting or generalizing their location in order to avoid reflecting their real position.
A formal definition of location obfuscation can be "the means of deliberately degrading the quality of information about an individual's location in order to protect that individual's location privacy.
The most common techniques to perform this change are:
- Pseudonyms and the use of third party location providers
- "Spatial cloaking" techniques in which a user is k-anonymous if her exact location cannot be distinguished among k-1 other users 
- "Invisible cloaking", in which no locations are provided for certain zones
- Adding random noise to the position 
- Rounding, which uses landmarks to approximate the location 
- Redefinition of possible areas of location.
One example of the application of location obfuscation can be seen in the following figure.
In this figure, a linear path is obfuscated by two versions of the random noise technique, in which a maximum random noise of 20 (red) and 40 (green) meters is added to the original path (blue), showing a very different trajectory and not revealing the real location of the user.
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- M. Gruteser and D. Grunwald, "Anonymous usage of location-based services through spatial and temporal cloaking". In Proc. MobiSys ’03, pp. 31–42, 2003.
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- Krumm, J, “Inference Attacks on Location Tracks”. In Proc. Pervasive 2007, Springer-Verlag, pp. 127–143.
- Ardagna, Claudio; Cremonini, Marco; De Capitani di Vimercati, Sabrina; Samarati, Pierangela (1 January 2011). "An Obfuscation-Based Approach for Protecting Location Privacy". IEEE Transactions on Dependable and Secure Computing. 8 (1): 13–27. CiteSeerX 10.1.1.182.9007. doi:10.1109/TDSC.2009.25.