Brier Dudley, a technology columnist at the Seattle Times, discusses privacy concerns about fitness devices that gather data about individuals’ health:
Outrage over NSA spying on Americans is nothing compared to how people may react to the upcoming collision with wearable computing, medical privacy and new insurance rules.
You donâ€™t need leaked documents to see it coming, though it took me awhile to connect the dots after seeing the bewildering array of new health and fitness-tracking gadgets shown at last monthâ€™s Consumer Electronics Show.
The show was seen as a turning point for â€œwearables,â€ including watches, wristbands, headsets and other gadgets. The most popular wearables monitor physical activity and connect wirelessly to phones, which may then upload the data to online services. […]
Not everyone wants to have a little computer on the wrist or head keeping track of what a wearer does around the clock. But I wonder if they wonâ€™t have much choice in the future, under new insurance laws that invite companies to scrutinize and monitor their employeesâ€™ health and fitness. […]
A 2013 survey by Aon Hewitt consulting found that motivating employees to change health behaviors is a â€œsignificant focusâ€ over the next three to five years at 69 percent of employers. […]
I suggest regulators go a step further and issue privacy guidelines for wellness programs, health apps and wearable devices that may share data with insurers and employers.