REMIND: Risk Estimation Mechanism for Images in Network Distribution

Dan Lin, Douglas Steiert, Joshua Morris, Anna Squicciarini, Jianping Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


People constantly share their photographs with others through various social media sites. With the aid of the privacy settings provided by social media sites, image owners can designate scope of sharing, e.g., close friends and acquaintances. However, even if the owner of a photograph carefully sets the privacy setting to exclude a given individual who is not supposed to see the photograph, the photograph may still eventually reach a wider audience, including those clearly undesired through unanticipated channels of disclosure, causing a privacy breach. Moreover, it is often the case that a given image involves multiple stakeholders who are also depicted in the photograph. Due to various personalities, it is even more challenging to reach agreement on the privacy settings for these multi-owner photographs. In this paper, we propose a privacy risk reminder system, called REMIND, which estimates the probability that a shared photograph may be seen by unwanted people - through the social graph - who are not included in the original sharing list. We tackle this problem from a novel angle by digging into the big data regarding image sharing history. Specifically, the social media providers possess a huge amount of image sharing information (e.g., what photographs are shared with whom) of their users. By analyzing and modeling such rich information, we build a sophisticated probability model that efficiently aggregates the image disclosure probabilities along different possible image propagation chains and loops. If the computed disclosure probability indicates high risks of privacy breach, a reminder is issued to the image owner to help revise the privacy settings (or, at least, inform the user about this accidental disclosure risk). The proposed REMIND system also has a nice feature of policy harmonization that helps resolve privacy differences in multi-owner photographs. We have carried out a user study to validate the rationale of our proposed solutions and also conducted experimental studies to evaluate the efficiency of the proposed REMIND system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8744560
Pages (from-to)539-552
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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