What if all such devices start selling us as a product:
- Health insurance companies get the data about our fitness and body?
- Hackers can track our financial information?
- Our private information suddenly becomes accessible to government and corporations?
Scenarios mentioned above highlight all the potential threats attached with wearable tech privacy. Find out more about Wearable Tech devices and risks of Wearable Tech in this article.
What is Wearable Technology?
“An innovative combination of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) in a form of fashionable accessories encompass with smart devices”.
A Bird’s Eye-View on the History of Wearable Tech
The history of Wearable Tech shares a vision throughout the journey, a vision of interweaving technology in day-to-day life and making it more pervasive and more interactive. This vision evolved from Steve Mann’s concept of “Surveillance”.
The first ever developed project in this regard was a “Calculator Watch”. It was developed in 1980s and was the first original piece of worn electronics. Soon after, there were many more wearable tech devices invented with each passing day.
The Future of Wearable Tech
Wearable Tech is the buzz word of 2014. A report published by Berg Insight states, ‘Alone in 2012, around 8.3 million wearable tech devices were sold out and this figure is estimated to reach 64 millionby the end of 2017’. A research by IHS Electronics and Media shows the following graph:
The Power and Promise of Wearable Technology
Believe it or not, wearable tech devices have provided us with a source of power through which we can do absolutely everything on our small rectangular screens, as well as on laptops and tablets.
Changing the way we make decisions
Wearable tech devices have let the technology to impact us on a more personal level. “The Power of Habit”, by New York Times investigative reporter Charles Duhigg, points out that feedback has the greatest impact on our habits when it’s provided at the moment of decision. Wearable tech can, hypothetically, provide you with the information you require immediately like track steps taken, calories burnt, distance covered, how much you have slept, and all this simultaneously without stumbling to different application on your phone.
Always Near, Always on
The closer the wearable devices get to our bodies, the universal their impact has become on us. Just imagine, a computer that fits in your pocket, or fits on your hand, or you can fix it on your eyes, can augment with communication in more effective way that a laptop or tablet can’t.
Comfort in Style
The tech companies have started manufacturing devices that are smaller, sleeker, lighter and more intuitive. After all, who would want to buy and wear an ugly watch or a pair of giant glasses that does not compliment their face? Some might give it a shot, irrespective of the look and solely on technological bases but for others, aesthetics govern their instincts in such situations.
Risks Attached with Wearable Tech Privacy
Wearable technology is a fascinating and exciting prospect, but don’t ignore the fact that it is far more thrilling and perhaps frightening that how it is going to change our perspective about who we are as people.
Let’s discuss some of the most common threats that are attached with the wearable tech privacy. While wearing these fashionable accessories, we are surely exposed to these risks.
Data Collection by Wearable Devices
Around 55 types of wearable devices are currently available in the fitness market alone. These devices provide users with information of calories burnt, steps taken, miles covered, new tracking route, blood pressure, sleeping patterns, body temperature and heart rate etc.
Similarly, Google Glass is suspected to be a tool that studies the human brain mechanism that governs the development of habits. As a result, we’re now at the edge of an era in which human behavior can be easily altered.
As reported by Thomas Goetz, Editor, Wired , in his 2011 article on “Feedback Loops”:
“Wearable devices will offer practical, novel and fun usefulness but will also be able to influence our behavior in ways good and bad, creating ethical dilemmas”.
All the information about our activities, collected by these devices, is stored at companies that manufacture these products. The question is what if they start selling us as a product?
Ownership of your Private Data
With all the data flooded in wearable tech companies’ storage, the question is who is the owner of this intangible property?
A European Commission called it ‘Life Data’. Once again, ask to yourself. Are you a product sold in an open information market? All the data about your health, fitness, life patterns, habits, activities can be used for a research or can also be transformed into a weapon against you.
The prevailing uncertainty about the ownership of life data will have drastic consequences. What if, the companies’ data base is hacked or compromised? What future your private data will have? What will happen to your private data then?
Threats of Wearable Tech at Work Place
Wearable techs can be a potential threat for work places like financial institutions, government offices, banks, military institutions etc. USAA, a provider of home, life, and auto insurance, has performed a research in this regard. By allowing their employees to bring wearable devices along with them at the workplace, soon they found following threats:
- Employees recording inappropriate audios at workplace
- Employees taking inappropriate images of each other at workplace
- Employees capturing sensitive information in the image at workplace
- Potential safety threats while walking on the floor at the workplace
- Complete breach of privacy and security of workplace
What if employees leaked out the most confidential information? What if competitors stole all your ideas via wearable techs?
Your Private life becomes Public-by-Default:
Google Glass can capture videos in a single touch, and no one will ever know about what has got exposed. Imagine you and your girlfriend sitting in a park, enjoying romantic moments and here’s the spy taking your pictures with it.
Similarly, a hacker tracks your device connected to your smartphone, having all your financial information, the next thing you know, you have lost all the bucks.
Vest Virginia, the best Airline in the world, has provided its corporate air crew with Google Glass having all the information about the customers. Now, this information can also lead to discrimination. And, what if the person wants to be in a low profile?
Wearable Devices have High Risk of Cyber Attacks
Wearable devices are highly vulnerable to hacking attempts if left unattended. Connecting such devices with an unreliable network can open new threats for you such as targeted marketing, targeted advertising, identity theft, and insurance or employment discrimination.
Most wearable devices are incorporated with cloud storage and it has become very easy for hackers to access information stored on a cloud network. Don’t forget we all have recently noticed a drastic incident of hacking on iCloud and newly launched iPhone watch is one such kind of a device. What if newly launched iOS 8 has a built-in vulnerability in its iCloud? Will you be the next victim then?
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