Modern applications increasingly rely on continuous monitoring of video, audio, or other sensor data to provide their functionality, particularly in platforms such as the Microsoft Kinect and Google Glass. Continuous sensing by untrusted applications poses significant privacy challenges for both device users and bystanders. Even honest users will struggle to manage application permissions using existing approaches.

We propose a general, extensible framework for controlling access to sensor data on multi-application continuous sensing platforms. Our approach, world-driven access control, allows real-world objects to explicitly specify access policies. This approach relieves the user’s permission management burden while mediating access at the granularity of objects rather than full sensor streams. A trusted policy module on the platform senses policies in the world and modifies applications’ “views” accordingly. For example, world-driven access control allows the system to automatically stop recording in bathrooms or remove bystanders from video frames. To convey and authenticate policies, we introduce passports, a new kind of certificate that includes both a policy and optionally the code for recognizing a real-world object.

We implement a prototype system and use it to study the feasibility of world-driven access control in practice.Our evaluation suggests that world-driven access control can effectively reduce the user’s permission management burden in emerging continuous sensing systems. Our investigation also surfaces key challenges for future access control mechanisms for continuous sensing applications.