The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has released a set of guiding principles for handling the health data gathered by wellness wearables, like the popular Fitbit activity monitor.
Unveiled at the end of October, the “Guiding Principles on the Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Data” address privacy risks but also consumer preferences in how the information is handled.
Among the practices condoned by the guidelines are those that will provide for “robust” security measures surrounding consumer wellness data; provide consumer-friendly explanations of each company’s data management policies, including agreements with third parties; allow consumers to access and control their wellness data; allow users to opt out of advertising; and provide consumers with information on how the company responds to law enforcement requests for data.
“The industry itself created and approved these Guiding Principles, recognizing that we need to evolve with common purpose to build and maintain consumers’ trust,” CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro said in a statement. “Wellness-related wearable devices are among the fastest-growing sectors of the Internet of Things. More consumers than ever are now harnessing personal data – calories consumed, daily steps taken and heart rate measurements.”
“As this technology evolves, consumers will learn even more about themselves, giving them a greater ability to lead healthier lives,” Shapiro continued. “These benefits rely heavily on wellness data, and the Guiding Principles demonstrate that wellness technology companies understand they must be trusted stewards of that consumer data.”
The CEA said the guidelines are subject to change with advances in technology and consumer comfort levels, but for the time being said the practices will allow for flexibility on the end of companies while addressing customer needs.