A federal report (PDF) says that consumer wearables are putting their users’ health privacy at risk, and that more federal oversight may be required.
The National Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, within the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote that it’s frequently unclear where the boundaries of confidential information lie. Apps and devices provided by entities already covered by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which controls privacy of health information) routinely comply. But consumer electronic devices aren’t covered, and Terms of Service frequently offer inadequate protection.
Moreover, devices that gather health-related information often aren’t even required to provide that information to the people providing it.
The report doesn’t make specific suggestions or recommendations. In a bureaucracy, though, a report identifying a problem is usually the first step on the road to a regulatory solution. Wearable makers should be aware.