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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Cutting Back On The Constant Connection

The cover of Time magazine this week featured an article about the increased connectivity we see in everyday life. As the benefits of technology have increased, our society has become comfortable with the notion of being “plugged in” nearly 24/7 – even during exercise and other activities that previously were havens without technology. While the increases in productivity as a result of this practice are undeniable, many people are beginning to question the overall health effects of this trend as well as bringing up concerns about privacy, security, and general wellbeing.

With the advent of “wearables” our fascination with technology has risen to a new level. Instead of merely having computers in our pockets all the time courtesy of our smartphones, now we can have that connection with us while swimming, showering, and sleeping – including the tracking that goes along with it. Especially considering the imminent release of the Apple Watch, this trend seems poised to take off, ushering in a new era of applications for monitoring health and fitness. But could all of this technology have negative effects to it as well? According to some commentators, it certainly could. In fact, professionals who are always connected tend to even have different mindsets – they spend too much time reacting to current trends rather than thinking ahead and leading the way.

One of the largest concerns about this connectivity, however, revolves more about privacy and where we draw the line. With built in heart rate sensors and activity trackers, as a society we seem content to deliver this information into the hands of manufacturing companies with the trust that it will remain secure. Medical identity theft is proven to be 20-50 times more valuable than any other type of information, and has been on the rise since 2009. Considering the vast majority of these breaches involve paper based records at healthcare facilities it might seem there is little cause for concern, but as the market penetration of these devices increases surely attempts to access them digitally will as well. Security features are largely unknown, but by being proactive you can decrease the risks of becoming a victim. Paying attention to security settings on devices is essential, and periodically reviewing what information is shared between what services can ensure that changes haven’t been made via updates to applications without your knowledge or consent.       

While we can’t fully predict what changes will occur in the future, being mindful of our connections in the “never offline” world can help us monitor where we are sharing what data. Time will tell whether this trend will continue forward or will see a reversal in direction based on concerns, but always remaining vigilant is the safe bet.

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