My office has started a 'step-challenge' but who has access to my data?


As I begin this discussion, I just received a Fitbit, downloaded the app associated with the project on my phone, and then synced the phone and the Fitbit. Now, the number of steps I take daily, my sleep habits (potentially), exercise habits, and pulse rate are uploaded to the cloud. This information could be readily available to my employer. 

Wearable devices that operate as biometric data tracking systems are becoming so popular and affordable that many employers are using these tools to promote health and wellness. My students who work at a local manufacturing company are involved in a 'step program'. Each quarter, individuals who reach the designated steps are awarded a bonus each quarter. But to qualify for this bonus, individuals must agree to sharing their data with their employers. Additionally, these wearables are often used with GPS technologies and the data provides a potentially accurate view of a person's daily habits.

What are your data concerns as it relates to wearable devices? And how should we teach our students to protect their very private data? As we engage in common practices and easily 'give up' our privacy, who are we giving it up to?

I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Kathy Tracey