Upgraded self, but there’s a catch

May 18, 2015

With wearables and cheaper and advancing tech, the how part of personal data collection is fairly straightforward. So now we move into the more socially complex questions around privacy, money, and usage. Ariana Eunjung Cha for the Washington Post looks a bit closer at the quantified self.

Federal patient privacy rules under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act don’t apply to most of the information the gadgets are tracking. Unless the data is being used by a physician to treat a patient, the companies that help track a person’s information aren’t bound by the same confidentiality, notification and security requirements as a doctor’s office or hospital. That means the data could theoretically be made available for sale to marketers, released under subpoena in legal cases with fewer constraints — and eventually worth billions to private companies that might not make the huge data sets free and open to publicly funded researchers.

Oh good. For the companies. Maybe not you or me so much.

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