LensCap: Split-process framework for fine-grained visual privacy control for augmented reality apps

Jinhan Hu, Andrei Iosifescu, Robert Likamwa

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

Abstract

Augmented Reality (AR) enables smartphone users to interact with virtual content spatially overlaid on a continuously captured physical world. Under the current permission enforcement model in popular operating systems, AR apps are given Internet permission at installation time, and request camera permission and external storage write permission at runtime through a user's approval. With these permissions granted, any Internet-enabled AR app could silently collect camera frames and derived visual information for malicious intent without a user's awareness. This raises serious concerns about the disclosure of private user data in their living environments. To give users more control over application usage of their camera frames and the information derived from them, we introduce LensCap, a split-process app design framework, in which the app is split into a camera-handling visual process and a connectivity-handling network process. At runtime, LensCap manages secured communications between split processes, enacting fine-grained data usage monitoring. LensCap also allows both processes to present interactive user interfaces. With LensCap, users can decide what forms of visual data can be transmitted to the network, while still allowing visual data to be used for AR purposes on device. We prototype LensCap as an Android library and demonstrate its usability as a plugin in Unreal Engine. Performance evaluation results on five AR apps confirm that visual privacy can be preserved with an insignificant latency penalty (< 1.3 ms) at 60 FPS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobiSys 2021 - Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages14-27
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384438
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 24 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event19th ACM International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys 2021 - Virtual, Online, United States
Duration: Jun 24 2021Jul 2 2021

Publication series

NameMobiSys 2021 - Proceedings of the 19th Annual International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services

Conference

Conference19th ACM International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services, MobiSys 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityVirtual, Online
Period6/24/217/2/21

Keywords

  • AR application development
  • augmented reality security
  • split-process control
  • unreal engine
  • visual privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications

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