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General Discussion => Cyber Reports => Surveillance => Topic started by: UltraTime on June 18, 2015, 05:21:17 AM

Title: 3 Privacy Tradeoffs That Might Be Worth It
Post by: UltraTime on June 18, 2015, 05:21:17 AM (

3 Privacy Tradeoffs That Might Be Worth It

Do I really want to share that health data with my boss?
 by Derek Korte - Jun 11, 2015 10:30am CDT


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CONSUMERS MAKE FAUSTIAN bargains with technology every day, sharing private information in exchange for some personal (or occasionally social) benefit. Sometimes the tradeoff doesn’t require a second thought, like wearing a Fitbit to make good on those exercise resolutions. Other times, it raises thorny questions: Do I really want to share that health data with my boss? Should I hand over my DNA to a startup? Here are a handful of cases where the surrender of intimate information—in tandem with new technologies—has the potential to produce significant payoffs for people on both sides.

Assisted Living Through the IoT

The concept of a fully equipped, remote-controlled “smart home” is an exciting one for most of us, but for a growing number of seniors, it means living under 24-hour surveillance. IoT-enabled sensors can now track their physical location at every moment, their heart rate and temperature, when windows and doors open or close—and even when they switch appliances on and off.

But it’s a bargain many seniors are willing to make with loved ones—typically sons and daughters who are responsible for their care and who have to monitor their health from afar. The market for this new genre of medical wearables is growing fast—it’s expected to top $8 billion ( by 2018—because everyone benefits: Caretakers get some much-needed peace of mind that aging family members will always be under a watchful eye; seniors surrender their privacy but, in many cases, hold on to the independence that comes with staying out of assisted-living facilities. In Japan, that often means inviting a live-in robot into the home. SoftBank recently released a robot,named Pepper ( , that the company says can understand human emotions—and learn from its owner over time.

Basic fall-detection devices, like ADT Medical Alert (, have been around for years. Emerging wearables, such as CarePredict’s Tempo, track location, movement, pace, posture, and other data, alerting caregivers to any changes that could signal a problem. IoT sensors from Lively and other companies track movement and send an alert if the wearer wanders out the front door or misses a medication deadline.

The Sharing Economy for DNA

There’s no data more personal than your DNA makeup, yet nearly one million people around the world have so far been willing to give it up to genetics innovator 23andMe in exchange for potentially valuable medical information. While the FDA halted its personal genetics testing service in 2013, the administration recently approved a targeted, direct-to-consumer genetic test for Bloom Syndrome, an inherited disorder resulting in short stature and a heightened cancer risk. The company is also launching a new drug development division (, led by Genentech’s former head of early drug development, with the goal of creating new drugs to fight genetic disorders.
 23andMe also announced partnerships with Genentech and Pfizer to study Parkinson’s and Lupus (

While the data is anonymous, the research wouldn’t be possible if people hadn’t agreed to expose themselves to technology in new ways—and entrust their most personal health information to a company. 23andMe says 80 percent of its more than 950,000 customers have agreed to donate their DNA information for the purpose of medical research.

Benevolent Workplace Wearables

Tough decisions about whether to share personal data are entering the workplace, too, as mobile and connected technologies blur the line between professional and personal lives. For employers, the benefits are obvious. Dataabout whom employees meet with, how they interact with coworkers—or even their lifestyle, diet and exercise habits—could help companies improve productivity or lower healthcare costs.

So what’s in it for employees? In some cases, such as a waiter-turned-manager at one Texas restaurant, employees in workplace monitoring programs are getting promoted ( as the result of what data shows about their productivity. Wellness programs, too, are emerging with tangible personal benefits: At BP, U.S. employees who wear company-supplied Fitbits have a chance at lowering their insurance premiums ( for themselves and their dependents.

There’s legitimate skepticism about what employers will do with the data, or if they can even be trusted stewards. But if you believe that a new model of corporate benevolence and ethics-driven management is on the rise—think about companies like Zappos, or what bestselling business consultant Gary Hamel has called the coming “moral renaissance” of business—there’s good reason to hope.