When I was younger, I always wanted a trampoline. Each year for my birthday and Christmas, I would always write it on my list even though my parents had already explained that our insurance company wouldn’t allow it. Presumably, if they somehow found out we had a trampoline in our backyard, rates would skyrocket in preparation for the eminent injury that would occur as a result of its use. Fitness trackers may pose a similar threat. Though only touched on in a single paragraph by Marwic in “How Your Data Are Being Deeply Mined” fitness trackers may pose a future threat to buyers of health-insurance.
It is well known that previous or current health conditions are considered by health insurance companies before they prescribe a rate to consumers. Fitness trackers can observe and store data on diet, exercise, sleep, and several other factors that can all be predictors of a person’s general well being. Many trackers today also connect to applications that are in some way connected to the internet and social networks. This opens the door for data mining of one’s fitness data. This is a slippery slope as fitness data may be sold to insurance companies who may use it to make insurance rate decisions even in the absence of preexisting conditions. While I am unaware of any current application along these lines, I have no doubt that as our technology continues to develop, situations such as this will arise.