Zaid Tasneem is a former research intern in the Media Analytics department of NEC Laboratories America, Inc. while studying at Rice University.

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Learning Phase Mask for Privacy-Preserving Passive Depth Estimation

Learning Phase Mask for Privacy-Preserving Passive Depth Estimation With over a billion sold each year, cameras are not only becoming ubiquitous, but are driving progress in a wide range of domains such as mixed reality, robotics, and more. However, severe concerns regarding the privacy implications of camera-based solutions currently limit the range of environments where cameras can be deployed. The key question we address is: Can cameras be enhanced with a scalable solution to preserve users’ privacy without degrading their machine intelligence capabilities? Our solution is a novel end-to-end adversarial learning pipeline in which a phase mask placed at the aperture plane of a camera is jointly optimized with respect to privacy and utility objectives. We conduct an extensive design space analysis to determine operating points with desirable privacy-utility tradeoffs that are also amenable to sensor fabrication and real-world constraints. We demonstrate the first working prototype that enables passive depth estimation while inhibiting face identification.