Simon Hanisch, Julian Todt, Jose Patino, Nicholas Evans, Thorsten Strufe
Submitted to ArXiV, 4 April 2023
Abstract: Biometric data contains distinctive human traits such as facial features or gait patterns. The use of biometric data permits an individuation so exact that the data is utilized effectively in identification and authentication systems. But for this same reason, privacy protections become indispensably necessary. Privacy protection is extensively afforded by the technique of anonymization. Anonymization techniques obfuscate or remove the sensitive personal data to achieve high levels of anonymity. However, the effectiveness of anonymization relies, in equal parts, on the effectiveness of the methods employed to evaluate anonymization performance. In this paper, we assess the state-of-the-art methods used to evaluate the performance of anonymization techniques for facial images and gait patterns. We demonstrate that the state-of-the-art evaluation methods have serious and frequent shortcomings. In particular, we find that the underlying assumptions of the stateof-the-art are quite unwarranted. When a method evaluating the performance of anonymization assumes a weak adversary or a weak recognition scenario, then the resulting evaluation will very likely be a gross overestimation of the anonymization performance. Therefore, we propose a stronger adversary model which is alert to the recognition scenario as well as to the anonymization scenario. Our adversary model implements an appropriate measure of anonymization performance. We improve the selection process for the evaluation dataset, and we reduce the numbers of identities contained in the dataset while ensuring that these identities remain easily distinguishable from one another. Our novel evaluation methodology surpasses the state-of-the-art because we measure worst-case performance and so deliver a highly reliable evaluation of biometric anonymization techniques.