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Knowledge is power, and with the deeply personal nature of wearables cybercriminals could wreak havoc. The concern is important since with a smaller data-recording device, the relevance of data increases. A small screen will invariably display important subject lines and senders’ names. Calendars will tell hackers who you met when and where. With BYOD, sensitive company data is at the risk of being hijacked.

The data scrutiny is even more exacting: GPS logs reveal where you go, which ATM you use, malls you frequent, what medical clinics you go to etc. It is even more frightening if data from wearable tech is used to steal identity and blackmail.

It doesn’t help when health and fitness wearable makers create privacy policies that are equivocal and often bypass consumer consent for data sharing. The potential scale and intrusiveness of breaches involving wearables is unprecedented. There is no guarantee that health information will not be sold and resold to third parties.

Why upload health data when there’s no guarantee it will be kept private?

Although big data analytics and profiling may benefit all involved, it makes it difficult for individuals to keep track of how and what personal data is shared especially with whom. Free apps may not be free after all… we’re more likely to give more data than we think we will.

Silver Lining

With ever-evolving development of wearable technologies, data collection problems will be solved incrementally with matured in-depth data processing and analysis capabilities to emerge.

In coming years, several dynamic physical examinations using wearable devices will be employed by hospitals. Smartphones will continue to gather and transmit health-related data eventually building a repository of health data that could even predict unusual health conditions or even trigger alarm in case of medical emergency.

Advanced wearable tech like this may be ahead of its time. But, the future is here, and big data is leading the charge.

Image Credits: Daniel X. O’Neil|UM Health System


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