Managing Customer Privacy with Wearable Devices

As a tech company, you could be creating software or hardware (or both) for wearable devices. Wearable devices, such as smart watches, fitness trackers, temperature-controlled clothes and smart socks, are pegs in the IoT (Internet of Things) wheel. IoT itself has been creating a huge wave in the market with Gartner forecasting that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from 2015, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020.

However, 92% of all IoT developers surveyed recently said that security was going to be more and more of an issue in the future. Of this, privacy has taken the front seat to become THE most important challenge to manage.

Some questions that need to be addressed include:

Can the customer choose what data can be collected? This will have ramifications on the efficiency of products.

How can you protect the location details of a user? Location details, especially those of women and children could be exploited by miscreants or criminals. GPS enabled wearable devices have to be secure so that its users are safe.

What happens to a user’s data once they move from one brand to another? E.g. if a user stops using the Moto 360 and buys an Apple watch instead, does his data stay with Motorola or should the user be allowed to control where her data lies?

Who owns the data of wearables used by multiple people? If a fitness tracker is used by multiple people (in a family, for instance), how can privacy of each user be maintained so that the wearable can be shared while respecting the sensitivity of the data?

Can some data be stored in the wearable itself? Stolen devices need to be protected from privacy threats.

Are there geographical constraints to the data being stored? Geographies like Europe have strict laws on where Personally Identifiable Information can or cannot be stored. Manufacturers of wearable devices need to choose servers and data storage locations appropriately.

If your company is manufacturing the hardware or developing the software for wearable technology, ensure that your use a framework that incorporates privacy right from the beginning. Get equipped with privacy trends and next generation privacy requirements for wearables. These may not be requirements today, but your technology must be ready for them tomorrow. Book a free consultation with Prowse Chowne to discuss the impact of privacy to your wearable device.