Wireless image sensor network generates a large number of images from the distributed camera sensors. The image data need to be delivered securely and efficiently to the sink in many circumstances. The current node-disjoint multipath and dispersive routings cannot provide enough security and efficiency for the image data collection and transportation. In this paper, we propose an ellipse batch dispersive routing (EBDR) algorithm to address the secure and efficient data collection issue in wireless image sensor network. Images are broken into many shares using (K, N) threshold secret sharing. A multi-hop path is built for each share. All hop nodes are constrained in an ellipse. The routing chooses a relay node for each share of an image in each hop selection step. Relay nodes are dispersed in the whole ellipse area. We analyze the interception probability of shares and delivery delay of EBDR compared with multicast tree-assisted random propagation. Simulation experiments show that EBDR can obtain better security and efficiency for the routing of image data than multicast tree-assisted random propagation routing protocol. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.