TechRepublic: The Scary Truth About Data Security with Wearables

July 3, 2014:

Teena Hammond, Senior Editor at TechRepublic quotes Tatiana Melnik in an article discussing the wide spread data collection practices by private companies, and what those companies do with the data they collect.

"The amount of data being collected by just the wearable device on your wrist is simply astounding."

"Tatiana Melnik, an attorney who works in the healthcare IT [and] data security [areas], said there are a number privacy and security concerns in wearables."

"'You have to read the terms of service for a wearable device. But on the other hand, you want to use the device. You're not really in a position where you can't accept the terms. You don't exactly have a choice,' she said. It's a fundamental notion of fairness and what's fair for you might not be fair for me..."

"The language is vague in most terms of service agreements. Even the phrase 'third party' is up for analysis, since it could mean practically anyone who is in contact with the company. 'There are a lot of people who [] maybe [sic] okay with sharing . . .
their heart rate with their doctor, but not with an advertiser or a pharmacy,' she said."

"But it's true that sometimes consumers don't realize what they're giving up by way of using those devices. For example, consider GPS. A lot of the devices now are GPS enabled. That means you're giving a third-party company the ability to track your every move. Is that something you're comfortable doing?"

"One of the other issues is that in many of these agreements you'll find something that say something like, 'In the event of the sale of our company, or if we're in bankruptcy, we can sell your data.' They reserve the right to sell the data. People don't realize that their data is an asset. There is value to knowing all this data about a person. You know their buying habits, their likes and dislikes. Certainly I'm okay with Company X having my data, but not Company Y. But you can't undo that. Once you agree, there's no way to undo it."

"And then there's the overall security of the data being collected. Melnik said, 'When you're looking at wearables you have other security issues. The software is only as good as the developer. If someone makes a mistake and there's a huge loophole in the software, who patches that? Who has the responsibility?'"

TechRepublic is website that helps IT decision-makers identify technologies and strategies to empower workers and streamline business processes - Read the full article here: The Scary Truth About Data Security with Wearables
Melnik Legal works with software development firms to help them navigate the complex legal landscape surrounding  the use of consumer data. We advise on and craft privacy policies, data sharing agreements, and provide compliance training.

We can help either on a project by project basis or as outside counsel.

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