Fitbit recently launched a new personal fitness tracker that you won’t find in any store. The Fitbit Inspire is aimed at the corporate market—companies that want to help their workers maintain a healthy lifestyle and health insurers who understand the bottom-line benefits of members who don’t get sick.
On the surface, it’s a win-win move for Fitbit and their customers. Yet despite the promise of health, wealth, and well-being that the Inspire and similar technologies promise, this could all too easily come at the expense of consumers who find their personal data being misused.
The Inspire is part of a growing trend of businesses, insurance companies, and health care providers using personal health devices to track and monitor employees and members, and even to reward or penalize them based on their data. If this sounds creepy, it is. There are benefits users potentially get out of wearing personal fitness devices tied to an employer, insurer, or health care provider, but they may come at the expense of handing over control of your life to someone else.
This may be as seemingly benign as handing out or withholding workplace perks predicated on your personal fitness tracker results. But it can just as easily mean potentially losing your job, or paying hefty medical bills, all on the basis of what a wearable personal fitness tracker says about you.
Law enforcement could even use your data in criminal prosecutions by accessing your previous locations and physical state. And you don’t even want to think about how vulnerable you might become if your personal health data was hacked and used to derive information that you’d rather keep private. This is all the more concerning given that Fitbit was hacked back in 2016.
Despite these potential risks, the use of personal fitness trackers and other internet-connected wearables continues to grow, in part because consumers are easily…