CEA unveils first-of-its-kind wellness data privacy principles
The Consumer Electronics Association unveiled new guidelines that it hopes will give consumers’ a little more confidence that the data collected from wellness devices (mainly wearables) that they use is properly handled and secured. CEA said the voluntary guidelines that it developed for private sector organizations that handle this data is the first-of-its-kind.
CEA also said that its Guiding Principles on the Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Data represent “consensus among the trade association’s members” on how the industry should handle tangible privacy risks and consumer preferences.
"We have a message for consumers - wellness technology companies are making consumer privacy a top priority," Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA, said in a statement. "The industry itself created and approved these Guiding Principles, recognizing that we need to evolve with common purpose to build and maintain consumers' trust. Consensus solutions are the most efficient and effective way to promote innovation, while recognizing the needs of consumers. Achieving this degree of agreement among companies in such a vast, rapidly-evolving tech category is nothing short of remarkable."
The Guiding Principles establish a baseline, voluntary framework that CEA said will promote consumer trust in technology companies that handle this data, but it also gives those companies flexibility on how they want to implement them according to their particular products and other offerings. At the core of the guidelines are five basic recommendations that CEA highlighted:
- Provide robust security measures
- Provide clear, concise, and transparent information on the use of data collection, storing, and sharing, especially when transferring data to unaffiliated third parties
- Allow consumers the ability to control and review their personal wellness data
- Offer users the ability to opt out of advertising
- Disclose their protocol for law enforcement requests
"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," said Shapiro. "As this technology evolves, consumers will learn even more about themselves, giving them a greater ability to lead healthier lives. 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."