Security, Privacy, and Ownership Issues with the Use of Wearable Health Technologies

Security, Privacy, and Ownership Issues with the Use of Wearable Health Technologies

Don Kerr (University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia), Kerryn Butler-Henderson (University of Tasmania, Australia) and Tony Sahama (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1016-1.ch007
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Abstract

When considering the use of mobile or wearable health technologies to collect health data, a majority of users state security and privacy of their data is a primary concern. With users being connected 24/7, there is a higher risk today of data theft or the misappropriate use of health data. Furthermore, data ownership is often a misunderstood topic in wearable technology, with many users unaware who owns the data collected by a device, what that data can be used for and who can receive that data. Many countries are reviewing privacy governance in an attempt to clarify data privacy and ownership. But is it too late? This chapter explores the concepts of security and privacy of data from mobile and wearable technology, with specific examples, and the implications for the future.
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The Current Situation According To Public Forums

In a recent article Teena Maddox (2015) suggested that people wearing fitness bracelets are jeopardizing their security and privacy. In this TechRepublic article, Maddox suggested that fitness bracelets cannot only detect activity but also inactivity. As the data is then uploaded to the cloud, it is possible that this information could be stolen by a third party who on-sells information to a multitude of willing businesses. In her example, Maddox mentioned this happening to health insurance companies. Maddox (2015) suggests that proof of a lack of activity in many situations could lead to “steep increases in health insurance, or even a policy cancellation” (Maddox, 2015).

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