The following blog post is adapted from a talk the author gave at the “Data Privacy in the Digital Age” symposium on October 26th sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Today, I’ll be focusing on the data privacy issues posed by sports wearables, which I define to include both elite systems such as WHOOP or Catapult and more consumer-oriented products such as Fitbits, and why the U.S. needs an integrated federal regulatory framework to address the privacy challenges posed by private entities commercializing biometric data.
Sports wearables have evolved from mere pedometers to devices that monitor heart rate and sleep, tell athletes how to maximize recovery, and even track food intake and sexual activity – all uploaded to the cloud.
These technologies are now ubiquitous and have wide appeal to consumers – in fact, I’m wearing a Fitbit right now.
But these devices raise several key problems for consumers that are not yet being adequately addressed by the U.S. legal and regulatory system.