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Wearable Devices: Keep Data Privacy In Check
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Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
8/18/2014 | 2:24:06 PM
Voluntary slippery slope
One smart device that interests me is the tracker that insurance companies would like us to install in our cars. Currently, these are optional, with the "carrot" being a break on your rates if you're a safe driver as revealed by the device. However, logic dictates that as more drivers accept these devices, insurers will start considering that the norm, cut back on incentives, and penalize those who decline.

One could see the same path being taken by other insurers -- health and homeowners. 
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2014 | 4:02:16 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
That is a very real risk, Lorna. The insurance company can say that they don't penalize anyone, but all too often rates go down for the "good participants." That means the non-participants pay higher fees. Not higher than they had before, but higher than they should have. This is a very slippery slope with health insurance too, even as employers are now commonly penalizing poor habits like smoking.
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
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8/18/2014 | 5:02:33 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
Right -- it used to be the norm to have a full-service gas station. Then, someone figured out they could do self-serve, shave a nickel off a gallon of gas, people would come for the savings. Well, now, self-serve is the norm and you have to pay to get the service that once was included.

For customers to flock en masse to a "discount" that actually costs them something (either labor or, in this case, privacy) may be a win in the short term. But eventually, it comes back to bite us.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
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8/18/2014 | 6:06:29 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
I like the comparison with cell phones here.

I think that even with the progression in mobile devices to smartphones and tablets we're still evolving the privacy debate.

Wearables will be another precedent, and I have to wonder if wearables will do to mobile devices what the latter did to PCs – it changed the whole game when you really think about it. Interestig stuff if you ask me..
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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8/18/2014 | 7:28:16 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
I question whether personal data of this sort really needs to be stored in the cloud. You can store quite a bit on a tiny SD card these days. Moving data to the cloud shouldn't be necessary unless you're talking about pictures or videos, which take up lots of space.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2014 | 7:47:37 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
I think the day of the wearable replacing the cell phone is quite a ways off. The overwhelming trend in cell phones is larger screens, at least for now. Even Apple has caved into the consumer pressure. Wearables, with few exception, don't fit that description. The majority, again with a few exceptions, of wearables still require another device to do most of the real processing. They are evolving, and there are some great use cases out there, but it is still a technology in its infancy.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
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8/18/2014 | 7:48:38 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
For me, the reason to utilize the cloud is for easy retrieval of my data across multiple devices. This may not apply well to wearables, though. If the device can communicate with my phone and store data there, maybe I don't need it to access the cloud.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
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8/19/2014 | 12:57:37 PM
Law
I'd quite like to see some pre-emptive legislation be put in place to govern wearable data. Some of it is just far too sensitive for the whims of new startups with little security experience, or lackadaisical developers to handle it.

I'm usually one for free market principles to dominate and for end user common sense to prevail, but things like health, heart rate signatures, potentially glucose blood levels, this is all information that feels far too personal for a wearable company to have access to and potentially sell on unless I comb through its entire privacy policy before hand. 

I will do of course, but I'd like a solid alternative. 
GAProgrammer
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GAProgrammer,
User Rank: Ninja
8/20/2014 | 9:44:38 AM
BYOD quote
"When I ask security experts if they have a BYOD program at work and they say "No," I say, "Yes you do. It's just not authorized."

Actually, we don't. We do not allow any personal devices on our corporate network. Sure, they can access some information from the web that can be accessed on a computer with a browser, but I wouldn't consider that BYOD. Even those cases are very rare, as we have computers everywhere. There is NO BYOD at our company - it's not being naive, it's called network security. No personal device is allowed on the corporate wireless intranet and the guest wireless is on a whole diff Last time I checked, no mobile devices can plug into the physical network. Am I missing something here? Maybe our definitions of BYOD are different?

To the article's point, there was a quote about wearables connecting directly to the internet - I don't know of any. Sure, there are medical sensors that do that, but I don't know if they would be considered a "wearable". It's a good point though - the definition of wearable might not be limited to form.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
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8/20/2014 | 4:18:48 PM
Re: Voluntary slippery slope
Another reason to move wearable data to the cloud, beyond file size, is to share it, Tom. You want to share with your biking group how much you're riding, or with your doctor how much you've been sleeping. But your point is a really good one -- people might start getting more mindful about whether data is cloud or on-device, and not just  default to cloud.   
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