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Selective encryption for video streaming was proposed for efficient multimedia content protection. However, the issues on joint optimization of video quality, content protection, and communication energy efficiency in a wireless sensor network (WSN) have not been fully addressed in the literature. In this paper, we propose a scheme to optimize the energy, distortion, and encryption performance of video streaming in WSNs. The contribution of this work is twofold. First, a channel-aware selective encryption approach is proposed to minimize the extra encryption dependency overhead at the application layer. Second, an unequal error protection (UEP)-based network resource allocation scheme is proposed to improve the communication efficiency at the lower layers. Simulation experiments demonstrate that the proposed joint selective encryption and resource allocation scheme can improve the video transmission quality significantly with guaranteed content protection and energy efficiency.