Watermarking in an end-to-end security chain.

  • Fodor, Gabor (Mandate)
  • Dooms, Ann (Administrative Promotor)

Project Details


Content distribution applications such as digital broadcasting and online press platforms, video-on- demand services (VoD) , video conferencing or surveillance are confronted with difficulties with respect to quality guarantees, security measures and intellectual property management. Varying bandwidth conditions, error-prone network behavior and secure delivery through encryption are questions that are successfully addressed in today's practical systems, but no satisfying solution was found until now to copyright enforcement on the end-user's side. Once the encrypted content is delivered and decrypted by the end-user, the content provider loses track and intellectual property rights are not necessarily preserved. Digital watermarking can complement cryptography in this scenario by imperceptibly embedding information within the content itself. The embedded message can carry ownership information for copyright enforcement, a unique code related to each buyer for traitor tracing (fingerprinting) or even content descriptions, like structural features for authentication or quality assessment.
In a typical end-to-end distribution scenario, the content is encrypted at the content creation side, leaving limited possibilities for adaptation. Decrypting along the way to perform the required video processing operations (transcoding, watermarking, etc) and subsequent re-encrypting is highly inefficient. Moreover, not all stakeholders might/should have access to the decryption key. Decryption in the network creates a flaw in the overall security of the system, as the unencrypted essence can potentially be intercepted.
Efficient integration of watermarking with encryption would bring an innovative solution to secure multimedia content distribution. This research will explore the possibilities behind creating such a system, aiming at the creation of a fully applicable solution that would bring today's industry standards to the next level. This study can be categorized into two parts: integration of watermarking with encryption and improving the watermarking systems. We will not consider designing new encryption systems, but instead will focus on efficient combination of the existing encryption standards and the investigation of security compromises in the proposed watermarking-encrypting systems.
Concerning encryption, there are three schemes with great possibilities that will be investigated and could give the answer to an efficient watermarking-encrypting system, namely homomorphic encryption, invariant encryption and partial encryption. The first two approaches are interesting as they provide means of realizing complex operations (such as watermarking) in the encrypted domain itself. The latter one is important as it provides a flexible and easy to implement solution, but often at the cost of security.
As for watermarking, research areas where we will make improvements are optimization of the embedding and detection mechanisms and integration of error correcting and in particular, insertion deletion codes. These concepts and the research possibilities are explained in more detail in the Project Description section of this proposal.
Effective start/end date1/01/1331/12/16


  • Low Power Cmos
  • Digital Image Processing
  • Numerical Linear Algebra
  • Embedded System Design
  • Image Reconstruction
  • Displays
  • Audio Processing
  • Light Detectors
  • Micro-Electronics Technology
  • Sige Bicmos Design
  • Satellite Image Analysis
  • Telemedicine
  • Medical Image Analysis
  • Inverse Problems
  • Video Compression
  • JPEGx
  • Neural Networks
  • Mine Detection
  • Vision
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Electronic System Design
  • Machine Vision
  • Micro Electronics
  • Cmos Design
  • Chip Interconnects (Inter / Intra)
  • Humanitarian Demining
  • Speech Processing
  • Mpegx
  • Light Emitters
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Mm-Wave Technology
  • Robot Vision
  • Impedance Tomography
  • Image Compression
  • Light Modulators
  • Computer Aided Electronic Design
  • Medical Image Visualization
  • Motion Estimation And Tracking
  • Opto-Electronics
  • Multispectral Image Analysis
  • Electronics
  • Computer Vision
  • Image Processing
  • Industrial Visual Inspection
  • Image Analysis

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Biological system engineering
  • Applied mathematics in specific fields
  • Nanotechnology
  • Optics, electromagnetic theory
  • Multimedia processing
  • Electronics
  • Materials science and engineering


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