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Mobile multimedia applications, the focus of many forthcoming wireless services, increasingly demand low-power techniques implementing content protection and customer privacy. In this paper low complexity perception-based partial encryption schemes for speech are presented. Speech compressed by a widely-used speech coding algorithm, the ITU-T G.729 standard at 8 kb/s, is partitioned in two classes, one, the most perceptually relevant, to be encrypted, the other, to be left unprotected. Two partial-encryption techniques are developed, a low-protection scheme, aimed at preventing most kinds of eavesdropping and a high-protection scheme, based on the encryption of a larger share of perceptually important bits and meant to perform as well as full encryption of the compressed bitstream. The high-protection scheme, based on the encryption of about 45% of the bitstream, achieves content protection comparable to that obtained by full encryption, as verified by both objective measures and formal listening tests. For the low-protection scheme, encryption of as little as 30% of the bitstream virtually eliminates intelligibility as well as most of the remaining perceptual information. Low-power, portable devices could therefore achieve very high levels of speech-content protection at only 30-45% of the computational load of current techniques, freeing resources for other tasks and enabling longer battery life.
Date of Publication: Nov 2002