“I am uncomfortable sharing what I can't see”: Privacy concerns of the visually impaired with camera based assistive applications

Taslima Akter, Bryan Dosono, Tousif Ahmed, Apu Kapadia, Bryan Semaan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemConference contribution

49 Scopus citations


The emergence of camera-based assistive technologies has empowered people with visual impairments (VIP) to obtain independence in their daily lives. Popular services feature volunteers who answer questions about photos or videos (e.g., to identify a medical prescription). However, people with VIPs can (inadvertently) reveal sensitive information to these volunteers. To better understand the privacy concerns regarding the disclosure of background objects to different types of human assistants (friends, family, and others), we conducted an online survey with 155 visually impaired participants. In general, our participants had varying concerns depending on the type of assistants and the kind of information. We found that our participants were more concerned about the privacy of bystanders than their own when capturing people in images. We also found that participants were concerned about self-presentation and were more comfortable sharing embarrassing information with family than with their friends. Our findings suggest directions for future work in the development of human-assisted question-answering systems. Specifically, we discuss how humanizing these systems can give people a greater sense of personal security.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 29th USENIX Security Symposium
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133175
StatePublished - 2020
Event29th USENIX Security Symposium - Virtual, Online
Duration: Aug 12 2020Aug 14 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 29th USENIX Security Symposium


Conference29th USENIX Security Symposium
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


Dive into the research topics of '“I am uncomfortable sharing what I can't see”: Privacy concerns of the visually impaired with camera based assistive applications'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this