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What is "Perceptual Encryption", and where do we use it?

I came across it whilst reading a paper on ECC in a multimedia context, from which I quote:

Hence, to achieve perceptual encryption, the higher-order biplanes were selected to be encrypted.

In addition to a formal definition, I would appreciate some examples of using it.

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Can you post a link to the paper? –  mikeazo May 5 at 12:31
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1 Answer 1

Perceptual encryption is a term used to describe various encryption methods intended for audio, speech, image and video data.

The idea is that one performs encryption for multimedia content in a way that only a certain amount of "perceptual information" is touched by the encryption. It may be considered as intentionally degrading the quality of the multimedia content by means of encryption, whereas the part of the data that remains untouched can be processed by the decoder without having access to the encryption key. But the full perceptual information, i.e., the full quality multimedia data, can only be recovered when given access to the the encryption key.

For instance, one may use perceptual encryption to downgrade the quality for a free preview and only if one pays for the content one obtains access to the encryption key and thus to the full quality content.

There are various freely available articles describing various techniques for this type of encryption (just do a Google or Google Scholar search) and also some parts of books (you can find via Google Books), e.g.:

and just search for "perceptual encryption". I am not sure if there is something like a single definition because there are various techniques for perceptual encryption, but you should find classifications in the linked books.

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