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Wearables: Are we handing more tools to Big Brother?

Taylor Armerding | July 15, 2014
Most of us would love a break on our health insurance. We would generally appreciate the convenience of seeing ads for things we're actually interested in buying, instead of irrelevant "clutter." A lot of us would like someone, or something, else keeping track of how effective our workouts are.

Rebecca Herold said it would likely take an aggressive push by government or a groundswell of protest from the grassroots — or both — for the makers of wearables to build privacy provisions into their devices.

"Over the past year I've posed the question to hundreds of medical and wearable device manufacturers: 'Will you build privacy controls, such as encryption, GPS turn-off switches, etc. into your devices?'" she said.

"Almost all of them have replied that they will not unless it is required to by laws, or if they get an overwhelming number of requests from customers or potential customers."

And with huge companies like Google creating medical and fitness devices with a philosophy dedicated to opening up health information, "how likely do you think it is that they are going to build them with privacy options, such as turning off GPS trackers, built in?" Herold asked.

"Pretty slim to none from what's been reported."


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