Fitness bands good for health, terrible for privacy: Study
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A report released by the Center for Digital Democracy at American University warns that wearables, such as fitness bands, smart clothing, and smart watches, are not safeguarding your data as you might think. In fact, much of of the data is being monetized and sold already, and the situation is likely to only get worse, the report warns.
The problem, outlined in the report titled Health Wearable Devices in the Big Data Era: Ensuring Privacy, Security, and Consumer Protection, is that health and privacy regulations are too weak. At the moment, that means collected heart rate, sleep, calorie, and stress levels of users are being bought and sold for data mining. However, the researchers are even more concerned about the future levels of data that will be collected and sold in real-time as sensor technology continues to improve.
The report suggests clearer standards for collection and use of information, more limitations on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing, and a standardized process to assess the risks and benefits of using certain data.