WristPrint: Characterizing User Re-identification Risks from Wrist-worn Accelerometry Data

Nazir Saleheen, Md Azim Ullah, Supriyo Chakraborty, Deniz S. Ones, Mani Srivastava, Santosh Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Public release of wrist-worn motion sensor data is growing. They enable and accelerate research in developing new algorithms to passively track daily activities, resulting in improved health and wellness utilities of smartwatches and activity trackers. But, when combined with sensitive attribute inference attack and linkage attack via re-identification of the same user in multiple datasets, undisclosed sensitive attributes can be revealed to unintended organizations with potentially adverse consequences for unsuspecting data contributing users. To guide both users and data collecting researchers, we characterize the re-identification risks inherent in motion sensor data collected from wrist-worn devices in users' natural environment. For this purpose, we use an open-set formulation, train a deep learning architecture with a new loss function, and apply our model to a new data set consisting of 10 weeks of daily sensor wearing by 353 users. We find that re-identification risk increases with an increase in the activity intensity. On average, such risk is 96% for a user when sharing a full day of sensor data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCCS 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384544
StatePublished - Nov 12 2021
Event27th ACM Annual Conference on Computer and Communication Security, CCS 2021 - Virtual, Online, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Nov 15 2021Nov 19 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security
ISSN (Print)1543-7221


Conference27th ACM Annual Conference on Computer and Communication Security, CCS 2021
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of
CityVirtual, Online

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award P41EB028242, by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under awards ACI-1640813, CNS-1823221, CNS-1705135, and CNS-1822935, and by the Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), Army Research Laboratory (ARL) under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-13-2-0045 (ARL Cyber Security CRA). The mPerf research study was supported in part by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), via IARPA Contract No. 2017-17042800006. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of ODNI, IARPA, DEVCOM, ARL, NSF, NIH, or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes not withstanding any copyright notation therein.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 ACM.


  • privacy
  • re-identification risk
  • user re-identification
  • wrist-worn accelerometers


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