TECH PRIVACY CONCERNS
University of Wollongong computing and IT professor Katina Michael believes “consumers are trading some of their fundamental freedoms for lower premiums”.
“My grave concern over these apps is that the data gathered is used to further exploit the end user.”
Although most health insurers have privacy policies surrounding the ways in which they will use the data they collect, Michael is concerned about the possibility for insurers to sell data to brokers or other companies for different uses.
For Asher Wolf, this is why Australia needs stronger digital privacy laws written by people who possess excellent understanding of the technology. "Our legislative privacy protections simply aren't strong enough in Australia right now, she explains.
She believes in the digital era, privacy legislation which wasn't designed for a digital age can undermine community standards, whether by ignorance or exploitation.
One obvious way to protect people’s digital rights is to ensure people are informed about how their data will be used before it’s collected. The idea of informed consent about personal data is a cornerstone of research ethics and it’s been the central ethical issue in recent digital privacy debates.
But not everyone is convinced ‘informed consent’ is possible with a topic as complicated as mass data collection. Nolen Gertz, Assistant Professor of Applied Philosophy at the University of Twente, says, “with something as complicated as ‘big data’ it is nearly impossible to ‘inform’ users in a rigorous way. As such it is up to the insurance companies to self-regulate.”
Citation: Matthew Beard, "NOTHING COMES FOR FREE: HEALTH INSURANCE AND FITNESS TRACKERS", Ethics.org.au, 5 October 2016, http://www.ethics.org.au/on-ethics/blog/october-2016/health-insurance-privacy-and-fitness-trackers