Privacy, security concerns grow for wearables

31 October 2017
By Igor Ilunin, Head of IoT

Privacy,-security-concerns

As wearable devices gain increased prevalence in our societies, privacy and security concerns must be addressed with sophisticated solutions to keep vital business and consumer information safe from malicious exploitation.

When information is collected and stored, there is an inherent risk of the data getting into the wrong hands. One of the most popular consumer uses of wearable devices is a health monitor, which is worn throughout the day to collect information about sleep, exercise, heart rate, and more, to be stored in the device’s cloud software. While many people successfully utilize this tool to understand their physical situation better and improve their overall health, imagine the problems that could ensue if that data was stored carelessly. Poorly managed information holds the potential to be stolen through a data breach by a malicious third party and subsequently sold to unscrupulous organizations that use that data to assess consumers’ health risks. Victims of this data breach could face significant increases in their health insurance or even the cancellation of a policy.

However, before too many alarm bells are raised, it’s important to point out that these issues are at the forefront of the minds of the developers of wearable devices and associated software. Data security is an essential component of all IoT devices and technologies, and companies must continue to improve both software and hardware to reduce vulnerabilities as much as possible. Additionally, many companies purchase cyber liability insurance, so that funds will be available in the event of a data breach that leads to consumer litigation.

The wearable camera market is also growing exponentially, with ABI Research projecting almost 24 million shipments in 2022. Without a doubt, this massive expansion will have to be accompanied by sophisticated privacy and data protection security. The data collected from wearable cameras can include recordings of innocent bystanders, potential witnesses to crimes, and even victims of accidents or wrongdoings. One of the primary concerns is that this data could be used to threaten or blackmail people who are caught on camera if the information is not carefully protected from exploitation by those with malicious intent.

The explosion of IoT means developers, manufacturers, and vendors must implement powerful encryption mechanisms to protect personal data, whether it is being collected by an activity tracker, a wearable camera, or a connected car. However, as long as technology experts, governments, and organizations collaborate to develop comprehensive security and data privacy standards for all IoT devices, consumers and businesses can rest assured that their information will remain safe from harm.

Please share your thoughts about IoT technology and privacy concerns of wearable devices with me on LinkedIn.


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