Connected health devices pose significant privacy risks

BEUC NEWS - 03.10.2017

App-connected health devices, in particular devices that measure sugar levels in blood, may strip users of control over their own data. In research published last week, BEUC’s Norwegian member Forbrukerrådet has identified consumer protection and privacy issues.

 

Such devices try to improve consumers’ lives by tracking the history of measurements or visualising results on the spot. However, some tested devices have privacy shortcomings including:

  • Data shared without consent: some devices sell sensitive personal data to companies in east Asia and North America without notifying the user.
  • Insecure email sharing: many of the tested apps encourage users to drop an email to their doctor to share information. Emails are unfit to send sensitive data.

The Norwegian Consumer Council calls on the health tech industry to make sure that terms and practices do not violate users’ privacy and basic consumer protection. Meanwhile, the consumer group encourages users to think twice before using connected health devices.

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