Watermarking biomedical time series data

  • Basava R. Matam

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis addresses the problem of information hiding in low dimensional digital data focussing on issues of privacy and security in Electronic Patient Health Records (EPHRs). The thesis proposes a new security protocol based on data hiding techniques for EPHRs. This thesis contends that embedding of sensitive patient information inside the EPHR is the most appropriate solution currently available to resolve the issues of security in EPHRs. Watermarking techniques are applied to one-dimensional time series data such as the electroencephalogram (EEG) to show that they add a level of confidence (in terms of privacy and security) in an individual’s diverse bio-profile (the digital fingerprint of an individual’s medical history), ensure belief that the data being analysed does indeed belong to the correct person, and also that it is not being accessed by unauthorised personnel.
Embedding information inside single channel biomedical time series data is more difficult than the standard application for images due to the reduced redundancy. A data hiding approach which has an in built capability to protect against illegal data snooping is developed. The capability of this secure method is enhanced by embedding not just a single message but multiple messages into an example one-dimensional EEG signal. Embedding multiple messages of similar characteristics, for example identities of clinicians accessing the medical record helps in creating a log of access while embedding multiple messages of dissimilar characteristics into an EPHR enhances confidence in the use of the EPHR.
The novel method of embedding multiple messages of both similar and dissimilar characteristics into a single channel EEG demonstrated in this thesis shows how this embedding of data boosts the implementation and use of the EPHR securely.
Date of AwardJan 2009
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDavid Lowe (Supervisor)


  • biomedical time series
  • electronic patient health records
  • patient privacy
  • security
  • watermarking

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