Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Sen-Ching Samson Cheung


The prevalence of wireless networks and the convenience of mobile cameras enable many new video applications other than 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 dissertation, we propose to balance 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 the dissertation 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 of the dissertation 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.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)