Apple Watch Already Facing Questions Concerning User Privacy

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Though it won't be released until early 2015, Apple's new wearable device is already facing public scrutiny over privacy issues. Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen has sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking several questions about how the Apple Watch will operate and requesting a meeting with Apple representatives.

In the letter, Jepsen addresses several issues he has with the Apple Watch, and requests that Apple explains what data the device will collect and how the information will be stored, along with its policies on apps that access health information.

In his letter, the Attorney General noted several areas of concern, including:

-Whether Apple will allow consumers to store personal and health information on Apple Watch itself and/or on its servers, and if so, how information will be safeguarded;

-If and how Apple will review application privacy policies to ensure that users' health information is safeguarded;

-If and how Apple intends to enforce policies that require the rejection of applications that provide diagnoses, treatment advice, or control hardware designed to diagnose or treat medical conditions that do not provide written regulatory approval;

-What information Apple Watch and its applications will collect from users, and how Apple and application developers will obtain consent to collect and share such information from these individuals; and

-How Apple intends to monitor and enforce applications' compliance with its guidelines concerning users' health information.
Many of these questions actually seem to pertain more to Apple's HealthKit APIs, and several of the answers to Jepson's questions are detailed in Apple's Review Guidelines for developers that was updated in June.

In the document, Apple says that HealthKit information will not be stored in iCloud and that apps attempting to store health data in iCloud will be rejected. It also states that apps will not be able to share data with third parties without express user consent and that all apps that provide diagnoses or treatment advice will be rejected.

Introduced on September 9, the Apple Watch is designed to be both fashionable and functional, aiming to encourage its users to be more active. It includes an accelerometer and four lenses designed to monitor heart rate, with the information collected displayed in several accompanying fitness apps. The heart rate and fitness data will also likely integrate with the Health app in iOS 8, which is designed to aggregate health and fitness data from a wide range of devices that have taken advantage of the HealthKit API.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


Article Link: Apple Watch Already Facing Questions Concerning User Privacy
 

afsnyder

macrumors 65816
Jan 7, 2014
1,267
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And no one blinked an eye when Samsung released their smartwatches with similar sensors?...
 

Patriot24

macrumors 68030
Dec 29, 2010
2,809
784
California
Suggested Title Edit:

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen Sends Letter to Tim Cook in Attempt to Remain Relevant in Public Eye as Mid-Term Elections Near
 

charlitos

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2013
70
7
Toronto
The same questions could apply to the iPhone, I dont see why the watch gets the attention here. In the end it will run an almost identical operating system with almost identical security features to those present in the iPhone.
 

jeffu

macrumors member
Nov 29, 2006
60
6
Is it me or does this seem a bit premature on the part of the Attorney General? I mean really, the device isn't even out yet and won't be for months? Just seems like grandstanding and throwing his weight around - "requesting a meeting with Apple representatives".

As others have said, what about the watches already on the market? Not to mention all the other fitness trackers?
 

gavroche

macrumors 65816
Oct 25, 2007
1,185
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Left Coast
They should reply that they are most assuredly doing a much better job protecting privacy than the government is.
 

axual

macrumors regular
Oct 31, 2007
211
2
Government concern

Funny how a government can ask questions, but then someone like Lois Lerner and the IRS can lose an entire hard drive with valuable and likely incriminating evidence without most people caring.

Apple has all the incentive to keep peoples data secure. The government does not and that's not good.
 

davenet

macrumors newbie
Oct 6, 2004
29
0
He must be a Democrat. Always looking for ways to insert government control into your private business.
 

super tomtendo

macrumors 6502a
Aug 29, 2009
767
671
Florida
People need to realize that privacy hasn't existed in like 10 years. You can try to limit it, but your information will always be out there in some degree.
 

iSee

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2004
3,523
253
It's called pandering.
And, it seems, the Attorneys General of the Nutmeg State have made quite a habit of it.
 

sentiblue

macrumors regular
Aug 2, 2012
185
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Silicon Valley
[url=http://cdn.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogodarkd.png]Image[/url]
It also states that apps will not be able to share data with third parties without express user consent and that all apps that provide diagnoses or treatment advice will be rejected.
Article Link: Apple Watch Already Facing Questions Concerning User Privacy
Why would express consent be approved at all? Can't we just block "sharing" period? Medical data is one of the MOST important private information to a person....