Key Perspectives on Wearables, Privacy, and Anonymity

Posted By on November 13, 2015

On Friday 13th November 2015 Nikolas Badminton appeared at the Security and Privacy Conference 20/20 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The conference looks at us in an age of ubiquitous technology, mass amounts of personal digitized data , sharing, analysis, and monetization. These tools have broad application and will transform the way we work, the way we are governed, and the way we think about information and data.

Nikolas appeared on the Wearables panel, moderated by the amazing Nora Young, Host of Spark: 21st Century Life, CBC Radio. Joining them was Peter Cullen – Executive Strategist for Policy Innovation, The Information Accountability Foundation, Gonzalo Tudela – CEO, Vandrico Solutions Inc.

In Key Perspectives on Wearables, Privacy, and Anonymity we share Nikolas’ presentation on People Power and Anonymity along with some thought-provoking articles on wearables and privacy.

People Power & Anonymity: A Perspective on Living in 2015

Nikolas Badminton, Futurist, looks at the revelations of the NSA and the rise of huge social and utility-based consumer platforms we are seeing the world becoming more aware and demanding a choice on privacy and data control. This presentation looks at this situation and discusses:

  • How people are becoming more concerned about privacy and use of data;
  • Modern surveillance techniques that affect everyone;
  • How surveillance and choosing anonymity online will equalize the game;

…and how to work ethically (and fairly) with people-based data.

Privacy and Wearable Articles

Here are some interesting and thought-provoking articles on wearables and privacy:

Wearable devices will continue to grow in popularity, as consumers appreciate the immediate access to fitness tracking, health tracking and other convenient measurements. As of yet, there have been no well-publicized data breaches involving the data collected by health and fitness wearables and smartwatches, so there hasn’t been a public outcry about the privacy and security risks.

But numerous experts say that will eventually happen, because the value of the data is worth much more than that of, say, stolen credit card numbers. Security options are being offered through some resources, such as Freescale, but they are few and far between at this point.

Until solid regulations are in place, either through the government or private industry, or a combination of both, there will be inherent security and privacy risks involved with wearable devices. Meanwhile, it will remain up to the consumer to determine if the risks of wearing that trendy Apple Watch or Misfit Shine are worth the gain.

The future of the health and fitness industry is going to be increasingly intertwined with the growing number of mobile devices connected to the IoT. With proper security, these gadgets can deliver better medical service and reduce the costs of health care, improving quality of life for users. Taking a systemic approach to securing the devices and the data they collect will help keep the criminals at bay and allow society to radically improve its health and fitness.

Fears over privacy are nothing new. As users began to see the sheer availability of information online, and the amount of personal data being seen and used by tech companies, they became rightly concerned over how much information would be available to companies and individuals, and how that information would be used. The increasing stream of news about the scope and intensity of government-backed surveillance programs has only added to the paranoia.

For Mr. Mann, wearables work to offset the privacy concerns surrounding the IoT by offering everyday people the chance to collect the same data accumulated by IoT technology.

“Some people say surveillance is good, other people say surveillance is bad, I say you’re both wrong,” Mr. Mann said, wearing the EyeTap digital eyeglass device he invented long before anyone had heard of Google Glass. “Surveillance is only a half-truth. Without sousveillance, it’s out of balance.”


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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