Zooming Into Video Conferencing Privacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The unprecedented growth in video conferencing usage is accompanied by multiple security and privacy threats. Importantly, protecting users' privacy is not always in their own hands. Posting meeting images affects all participants, leading to an easy collection of personal data including age, gender and linkage with participation in other meetings. Here, we explored privacy issues that may be at risk by attending virtual meetings. We extracted private information from collage images of meeting participants that are publicly posted online. We used image processing, text recognition tools, as well as social network analysis to explore our curated dataset of over 15700 collage images, and over 142000 face images of meeting participants. We demonstrate that video conference users are facing prevalent security and privacy threats. Our results indicate that it is relatively easy to collect thousands of publicly available images of video conference meetings and extract personal information about the participants, including their face images, age, gender, usernames, and even full names. This type of data can vastly and easily jeopardize people's security and privacy both in the online and real-world, affecting not only adults but also more vulnerable segments of society, such as children and older adults. Finally, we show that cross-referencing facial image data with social network data may put participants at additional privacy risks they may not be aware of and that it is possible to identify users that appear in several video conference meetings, thus providing a potential to maliciously aggregate different sources of information about a target individual.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)933-944
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Data science
  • image processing
  • security and privacy
  • video conference
  • video conference applications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Modeling and Simulation

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