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I-Privacy Lab

General Information

The I-Privacy lab works to protect privacy for everyone who is surfing the Internet and entering the era of Internet of Things. We work on a variety of cutting-edge research topics such as mobile app security, location privacy, image privacy protection on social network, ransomware detection and defense, attacking and defending artificial intelligence, security and privacy issues in autonomous cars, security and privacy issues in big data processing. We have a group of talented graduate students and we offer different types of scholarship such as the following NSF SFS program.

Ongoing Research Projects

The goal of this project is to overcome the following challenges which have not been well studied: (i) Privacy protection for human subjects and sensitive objects in the background of the images which are usually ignored by the existing works; (ii) Consideration of location-dependent image sensitivities whereby images taken at certain places (e.g., pubs, hospitals) may impact privacy of some people in the images who do not want their occurrences or co-occurrences at those locations to be known; (iii) Need for a comprehensive privacy model that can determine the extent to which the privacy protection mechanism reduces practical privacy risks; (iv) Enforcing the privacy protection that conforms with different privacy needs of multiple people in the same image.

The objective of this project is to design an intelligent deepfake detector, namely DeepDetect, which will be capable of assessing the integrity of digital visual content and automatically detect fake images or videos in the real time to prevent them from spreading. The uniqueness of the proposed DeepDetect is its ability of self-learning and self-evolving to capture fake visual content generated by new (currently unknown) deepfake algorithms over time.

In this project, we aim to develop comprehensive message routing solution to provide the fundamental support of information management for the Internet of vehicles. We have designed approaches that deliver messages via a self-organized moving-zone-based architecture formed using pure vehicle-to-vehicle communication and integrates moving object modeling and indexing techniques to vehicle management. It can significantly reduce the communication overhead while providing higher delivery rates. For the successful roll out of IoV applications, we also need to ensure the identity and location privacy of the participating vehicles, for which we are working on a suite of security and privacy protection mechanisms.

Post Doctoral Research Associate:  Ali Allami, expert on secure multi-party computation

Current Students
  1. Chaoquan C. (PhD), work on “image privacy protection”.
  2. Ke L. (PhD) , work on “voice authentication attacks and defense”.

  3. Tyler N. (PhD), work on “location privacy protection”.

  4. Alian Y. (PhD), work on “Internet of vehicles”.
  5. Cameron B. (PhD), work on “fake voice generation and detection”.

  6. Ian M.  (PhD), work on “deepfake generation and detection”.

  7. Jay B. (PhD), work on “deepfake detection”.
  8. Alex E. (PhD), work on “location privacy protection”.

Former Students (10 PhD and 7 MS thesis students have already graduated from our lab. )

NSF Scholarship for Service (SFS) Program

The SFS scholarship is a prestigious scholarship funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) to sponsor excellent students to pursue study in the filed of cybersecurity. There have been more than 2000 SFS scholars national wide. SFS graduates are currently serving in various government agencies and national labs. It is worth noting that more than 140 federal agencies are hiring SFS scholars. NSF is also organizing special job fairs for SFS scholars only. Government jobs offer excellent job security, employee benefits, paid vacations, regular working hours, etc. The job placement rate of SFS graduates are nearly 100%.

Through the SFS program, we will provide grants to students studying in the field of cybersecurity. Each scholarship recipient must complete either a M.S. or a Ph.D. degree on Computer Science. Rising juniors and seniors, and current M.S. and Ph.D. students who are U.S. citizens are eligible either as undergraduates through the MS degree, or PhD degree.

Scholarship Benefits:
  • Full tuition fees of scholarship recipients will be covered.

  • Each recipient will receive monthly stipend at the following rate: $22.5K/year for senior students who will continue their graduate. study; $35K/year for MS or PhD students. The recipients will be funded for up to three years.

  • Each recipient can reimburse up to $6000/year for professional development (e.g., attending conferences and job fairs).


Students interested in participating in the SFS program must be:

  • A United States citizen or permanent resident

  • A full time senior, MS, or PhD student

  • Able to meet selection criteria for federal government employment. Final job placement may require a security clearance, so each scholarship recipient may be required to undergo the background investigation required to obtain such a clearance.

  • Competitive students will have a strong GPA (>=3.5/4.0) or government/national lab internship experience

Recipient Responsibilities:

In return for receiving scholarship benefits, each scholarship recipient incurs two obligations:

  • During the summers while enrolled in the program, each student must find an internship position at an executive federal agency (or other approved federal agency). Numerous resources are available to assist students in identifying and applying for internships.

  • Upon graduation, each student will be required to work in a qualified position for an executive federal agency (or other approved federal agency). The work requirement time period matches the supported time period. For example, a full two-year scholarship requires two years of federal employment. Each student is responsible for identifying, applying for, and securing a qualified position. Numerous resources are available including an annual job fair specifically for SFS students as well as the assistance of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) which oversees permanent placement for scholarship students. Nearly 100% former SFS scholars have successfully fulfilled this requirement. Failing this service obligation will result in reimbursement of full amount of scholarship (including tuition, fees, stipend, professional development cost, health insurance, book allowance) received with possible interests.

Application Process:
Students who are interested in applying for the Scholarship for Service Program must complete the following documents.
  • An application form (send an email request to Dr. Lin)

  • Most current resume and/or curriculum vitae

  • Transcripts from all colleges or universities attended

  • A statement of purpose detailing academic, professional, and personal goals, and how participation in the Scholarship for Service Program will help achieve these goals

  • Two names of references who are faculty, staff or your former employers

Application Deadline:

SFS application is always open until the positions are filled. To allow sufficient time for evaluation and paper work, please submit your application at least a couple of months earlier before the semester that you wish your scholarship to begin.

Please email your application package to Dr. Dan Lin (dan.lin @ vanderbilt. edu)