No peeking through my windows: Conserving privacy in personal drones

Alem Fitwi, Yu Chen, Sencun Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations


The drone technology has been increasingly used by many tech-savvy consumers, a number of defense companies, hobbyists and enthusiasts during the last ten years. Drones often come in various sizes and are designed for a multitude of purposes. Nowadays many people have small-sized personal drones for entertainment, filming, or transporting items from one place to another. However, personal drones lack a privacy-preserving mechanism. While in mission, drones often trespass into the personal territories of other people and capture photos or videos through windows without their knowledge and consent. They may also capture video or pictures of people walking, sitting, or doing private things within the drones' reach in clear form without their go permission. This could potentially invade people's personal privacy. This paper, therefore, proposes a lightweight privacy-preserving-by-design method that prevents drones from peeking through windows of houses and capturing people doing private things at home. It is a fast window object detection and scrambling technology built based on image enhancing, morphological transformation, segmentation and contouring processes (MASP). Besides, a chaotic scrambling technique is incorporated into it for privacy purpose. Hence, this mechanism detects window objects in every image or frame of a real-time video and masks them chaotically to protect the privacy of people. The experimental results validated that the proposed MASP method is lightweight and suitable to be employed in drones, considered as edge devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication5th IEEE International Smart Cities Conference, ISC2 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781728108469
StatePublished - Oct 2019
Event5th IEEE International Smart Cities Conference, ISC2 2019 - Casablanca, Morocco
Duration: Oct 14 2019Oct 17 2019

Publication series

Name5th IEEE International Smart Cities Conference, ISC2 2019


Conference5th IEEE International Smart Cities Conference, ISC2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Urban Studies
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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