Privacy Aware Behavior Observation

The prevalence of wireless networks and mobile cameras enable many new video applications beyond the traditional applications in security and entertainment. From behavioral diagnosis to wellness monitoring, cameras are increasing used for observations in various educational and medical settings. Videos collected for such applications are considered protected health information under privacy laws in many countries. Visual privacy protection techniques, such as blurring or object removal, can be used to mitigate privacy concern, but they also obliterate important visual cues of affect and social behaviors that are crucial for the target applications. In this project, we investigate the balance between the privacy protection and the utility of the data by preserving the privacy-insensitive information, such as pose and expression, which is useful in many applications involving visual understanding.

The Intellectual Merits of this project include a novel framework for visual privacy protection by manipulating facial image and body shape of individuals, which: (1) is able to conceal the identity of individuals; (2) provide a way to preserve the utility of the data, such as expression and pose information; (3) balance the utility of the data and capacity of the privacy protection. The Broader Impacts focus on the significance of privacy protection on visual data, and the inadequacy of current privacy enhancing technologies in preserving affect and behavioral attributes of the visual content, which are highly useful for behavior observation in educational and medical settings. This work in this dissertation represents one of the first attempts in achieving both goals simultaneously.

Human Reshaping Process

Face Expression Transfer Process


Selected Publications: