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The Ethics Of Apple Watch Data

MFG Archive

In Lucy Bernholz’s most recent blog post she ties together the announcement of Apple’s first watch and the ethics of data.


For today’s News Roundup, we look to Lucy Bernholz’s blog, The Future Of Good, where she discusses Apple’s new data centric watch and the potential ethical issues surrounding it.


While many of us are happily debating whether or not to buy Apple’s latest innovation, we must also be aware of how they’re sharing this new data. Bernholz states that “Apple made a big deal about how it can protect your private financial and health data, which the watch and phone will help you collect and manage.” Specifically, Apple made it clear how they “will/will not store your data, how it can be shared, and who will have access to it.” To further this, Bernholz uses the language from Apple’s own Developer Guide:


“27.4 Apps may not use user data gathered from the HealthKit API for advertising or other use-based data mining purposes other than improving health, medical, and fitness management, or for the purpose of medical research (emphasis added, by Bernholz)”


Subsequently, Bernholz raises the obvious question, which is at the very heart of the matter: “Medical research by whom? Harvard? (Nonprofit) The Centers for Disease Control? (Government) Pfizer? (Commercial company) Citizen scientists in their garages?” Each one operates by its own rules and governance.


Bernholz believes that as technology continues to evolve, we will “have entirely new tools for collecting, storing, and sharing our data.” As discussed in her last post for Markets For Good, Preparing For The World We’re Bringing About, Bernholz declares that “we need new rules – especially if we want to maintain the trust and integrity of the nonprofit sector.”


Wearable tech and health data is ushering in a new era, in which the debate over what must remain private, and what can be shared for society’s benefit, will be at the forefront. As Bernholz makes clear, the rules have yet to be set and we’re learning as we go.

Many thanks to Lucy Bernholz for sharing her insights into the Apple Watch, via her blog.

If you would like to read up the future of data privacy, do take a look back at her last article for Markets For Good, Preparing For The World We’re Bringing About.

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