CEA Unveils Wellness Data Privacy Guidelines #CES2016 Las Vegas
Ahead of CES 2016 Las Vegas, the Consumer Electronics Association or CEA has announced a new set of voluntary guidelines for private sector companies that handle personal wellness data. Here is the press release:
Today, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® announced groundbreaking news about technology companies’ dedication to consumer privacy – a first-of-its-kind set of voluntary guidelines for private sector organizations that handle personal wellness data-the data often generated by wearable technologies.
In recognition of consumers’ desire for more privacy in an ever more connected world, CEA’s Guiding Principles on the Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Data represent consensus among the trade association’s members on how companies should address tangible privacy risks and consumer preferences.
“We have a message for consumers – wellness technology companies are making consumer privacy a top priority,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “The industry itself created and approved these Guiding Principles, recognizing that we need to evolve with common purpose to build and maintain consumers’ trust. Consensus solutions are the most efficient and effective way to promote innovation, while recognizing the needs of consumers. Achieving this degree of agreement among companies in such a vast, rapidly-evolving tech category is nothing short of remarkable.”
The Guiding Principles establish a baseline, voluntary framework that will promote consumer trust in technology companies that handle wellness data. At the same time, companies practicing the Guiding Principles will have flexibility on how to implement them according to their own unique products and offerings. The Guiding Principles recommend, among other things, that companies:
Provide robust security measures;
Provide clear, concise and transparent information on the use of data collection, storing and sharing, especially when transferring data to unaffiliated third parties;
Allow consumers the ability to control and review their personal wellness data;
Offer users the ability to opt out of advertising; and
Disclose their protocol for law enforcement requests.
“At Fitbit we empower consumers to lead healthier, more active lives by giving them access to powerful health and fitness data, along with inspiration and guidance to reach their goals. We understand the importance of protecting consumer data in order to maintain consumer trust,” said Woody Scal, chief revenue officer at Fitbit and chairman of CEA’s Health and Fitness Division. “CEA’s Guiding Principles on Privacy and Security articulate best practices that can be adopted by a broad variety of companies in the health and fitness ecosystem with the goal of helping grow and maintain consumer trust.”
“Wellness-related wearable devices are among the fastest-growing sectors of the Internet of Things. More consumers than ever are now harnessing personal data – calories consumed, daily steps taken and heart rate measurements,” said Shapiro. “As this technology evolves, consumers will learn even more about themselves, giving them a greater ability to lead healthier lives. These benefits rely heavily on wellness data, and the Guiding Principles demonstrate that wellness technology companies understand they must be trusted stewards of that consumer data.”
The Guiding Principles explain that, as consumer preferences and comfort with technology evolve, the tech sector’s products and services will advance as well. The association encourages companies to maintain an ongoing dialog with consumers on the potential value of wellness technologies, the privacy options they offer and potential sensitivities about the use of related consumer data.