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Privacy of personal data like biometrics tops workplace wearable concerns in Nymi study

Privacy of personal data like biometrics tops workplace wearable concerns in Nymi study

More than three out of four Americans would be willing to use a wearable like Nymi’s biometric wristbands to improve their health, safety, or effectiveness, though data privacy concerns remain, according to research by the wearable-maker.

Nymi undertook its research to assess whether the privacy concerns of employees are being taken into account, as biometrics-based wearables and other technologies are implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and otherwise benefit both companies and workers.

The seven-page ‘Leveraging Wearable Technology to Plan Safe Returns to the Workplace’ report shows that many of the 21 percent who are not open to a workplace wearable cite data privacy concerns. Further, when the 77 percent who are open to wearables at work are informed about data privacy and user controls available, 91 percent say they would welcome the wearable, but data privacy is the top concern mentioned by the other 9 percent.

Sensitive data collected by wearables in such scenarios, beyond biometrics, could include health and location data, though Nymi does not collect the latter.

More than half of employees who said they are not comfortable with a workplace wearable (56 percent) said the reason is a desire to keep information private, and 44 percent said personal data may not be handled responsibly by their employer.

“Making employees feel safe and comfortable at work isn’t just about preventing them from catching COVID-19 or getting in an accident,” comments Nymi CEO Chris Sullivan.

“Companies have a responsibility to make technology decisions that will give workers full data privacy. In the case of deploying technology such as a workplace wearable, that means providing the option for employees to opt-in for the collection of this data, erase their data at any time, and more.”

Nymi points out in the report that the biometric data collected and used by the Nymi Band is stored and processed on the device, which the company says makes it compliant with key GDPR principles and protective of user privacy by default.

Canaria receives grant for biometric workplace safety wearable

Canaria Technologies of Queensland, Australia, has been awarded an AU$749,000 (roughly US$581,000) grant to help commercialize a real-time biometric wearable system for tracking resource sector employees for conditions like heat exhaustion and fatigue causing cognitive impairment to improve safety.

The funding comes in the form of a matched grant from Australia’s Federal Government.

The company’s ear-worn wearable is currently being trialed at a mine in Western Australia.

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