In wireless sensor networks (WSNs) contextual information such as the information regarding whether, when, and where the data is collected cannot be protected using only traditional measures (e.g., encryption). Contextual information can be protected against global eavesdroppers by periodic packet transmission combined with dummy traffic filtering at proxy nodes. In this paper, through a Linear Programming (LP) framework, we analyze lifetime limits of WSNs preserving event-unobservability with different proxy assignment methodologies. We show that to maximize the network lifetime data flow should pass through multiple proxies that are organized as a general directed graph rather than as a tree. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.