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Privacy Leakage of Physical Activity Levels in Wireless Embedded Wearable Systems

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-140
Number of pages5
JournalIEEE Signal Processing Letters
Issue number2
Early online date20 Dec 2016
DateAccepted/In press - 17 Dec 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Dec 2016
DatePublished (current) - Feb 2017


With the ubiquity of sensing technologies in our personal spaces, the protection of our privacy and the confidentiality of sensitive data becomes a major concern. In this paper, we focus on wearable embedded systems that communicate data periodically over the wireless medium. In this context, we demonstrate that private information about the physical activity levels of the wearer can leak to an eavesdropper through the physical layer. Indeed, we show that the physical activity levels strongly correlate with changes in the wireless channel that can be captured by measuring the signal strength of the eavesdropped frames. We practically validate this correlation in several scenarios in a real residential environment, using data collected by our prototype wearable accelerometer-based sensor. Lastly, we propose a privacy enhancement algorithm that
mitigates the leakage of this private information.

    Structured keywords

  • Digital Health

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  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 870 KB, PDF document


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