The battle between company and consumer for digital privacy has been waged for years. Data breaches, complex and bloated license agreements and a lack of clarity around how user data is used are all issues we encounter nowadays. Many of the big tech companies have become increasingly cavalier with their handling of these issues, even in the face of mounting public pressure and security compliance safeguards such as GDPR and COPPA.
The Cost Of ConvenienceAll of this to say – why are so many of us willing to part with our personal data?. The latest stats show wearable tech uptake is growing at rapid pace (worldwide consumer spend on wearables totalled $81.5B in 2021), mobile device uptake continues to surge and advances in smart home technology means that more and more households have come to embrace digital solutions to their home security, lighting, speakers and smart climate controls. Ultimately, our motivations are complex, rooted in busy lifestyles with limited time and an acceptance that technology provides convenience alongside a growing interest in the insights that we can glean from our own data. For many, the benefits outweigh the risks.
Handle With CareWhile data can be treated as a commercial commodity by some, there is a growing movement amongst tech companies to provide users with more secure environments. In 2021, Apple introduced features empowering mobile users to choose how they share private data with the most common social media platforms, along with both the App Store and Google Play Store announcing data label features which provide users with strict outlines on how their personal data will be utilised. Privacy was a major consideration for iNSPiRETEK when choosing where to house sensitive information, especially when factoring in the age of many of the young athletes who trust us with their data on a daily basis. As a starting point, our CTO Kieren Dowding and his team of engineers transitioned our database to Amazon Web Services. “As the leader in cloud hosting, it made sense to embrace AWS for our data services given they provide physical protection of the data at their secure data centers, along with their extensive data encryption systems.” -Kieren Dowding
Of Personal ImportanceFor Founder and CEO Annie Flamsteed, user privacy is personal. Utilising a number of Athlete Management Systems in her teens while a competitive gymnast, she is fully aware of the shortcomings and compromises these solutions can sometimes make in order to provide extensive performance data to both trusted stakeholders and sometimes complete strangers. For a teenager grappling with the early stages of an eating disorder, this was a confronting scenario, made all the more troubling through a lack of proper support beyond the focus on performance metrics. “It was hard to process at the time, but in hindsight I had very little control over who saw my data and how it was used. Even for my parents, who were so supportive of what I was going through, the concept of data privacy was assumed to be both secure and controlled. But as a result of the last ten years, parents are far more skeptical when it comes to the data of their kids. This experience has been a major factor in why Kieren and I are ensuring that users are in control of every aspect of their data.” –Annie Flamsteed
What’s NextFor anyone familiar with Web2, the understanding that the majority of data is controlled by tech giants could be cause for concern. Web3 is expected to tackle this by being more user-centric, essentially decentralising the internet and giving people control over their data. This concept is a driving force for iNSPiRETEK. In the most recent feature release of flagship product the infinite app, users can control their own biometric data sharing options, electing who can see their activity, mood, sleep, pain, nutrition or menstruation information. This feature is yet another addition to the already robust data privacy tools that the iNSPiRETEK product suite employs.
“The blockchain, which is the backbone of the Web3 movement, is something we are already investigating from a privacy standpoint, but our roadmap also includes NFT and crypto solutions for gamification to increase engagement and reward behaviour change. We’re innovating at a pace which means we can be market leaders on numerous fronts“ –Kieren Dowding