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Consumer Electronics Association Issues Privacy Guidelines for Health Data Collection

October 28, 2015
by Heather Landi
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The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) issued a set of voluntary privacy guidelines for health technology companies that collect consumers’ wellness data through health and fitness devices.

According to CEA, the guidelines, called Guiding Principles on the Privacy and Security of Personal Wellness Data, represent consensus among the trade association 2,000 members on how companies should address privacy risks and consumer preferences.

“The industry itself created and approved these Guiding Principles, recognizing that we need to evolve with common purpose to build and maintain consumers’ trust,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA, said in statement. He added, “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 principles call on organizations and companies to offer robust security measures, allow consumers to control and review their personal wellness data and provide users the ability to opt out of advertising. The principles also provide clear, concise and transparent information on the use of data collection, storing and sharing, especially when transferring data to unaffiliated third parties.

“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,” Woody Scal, chief revenue officer at Fitbit and chairman of CEA’s Health and Fitness Division, said.

“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,” Shapiro said. “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.”

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