Fitbit said it will join Google’s cloud for sharing health care information, as if that were a good thing.
No doubt, it will promote data sharing among health care providers. Imagine, for example, how easily your doctor could use the cloud to access your Fitbit vitals.
But image, too, how somebody else could get your most personal information with a mouse-click. That might not be a good thing.
Reporting on the Fitbit plan, TechCrunch said it’s “a no-brainer as far as partnerships go.” Google has already partnered with medical facilities like Stanford School of Medicine to share healthcare information on Google’s Cloud Healthcare API.
“Ultimately, we hope that better flow of data will inspire new discoveries with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), leading to insights that improve patient outcomes,” Google says.
It’s all good for patients and researchers, as long as user information is confidential and secure. There are more than a few laws about that, like the Health Insurance Portablity and Accountability Act, but Google says it is all over improving security and compliance.
Of course, there are exceptions to Google rules. For example, e-discovery and legal process may have something to say about them.
Everybody knows that your information, even your DNA, can lead to unexpected results. Authorities caught the Golden State Killer, for example, by following leads from websites that share user genealogies.
Fitbit has also turned the tables in criminal investigations. In one case, a woman claimed she was raped but her Fitbit revealed she was lying about it.
The bottom line is that such data can be used against Fitbit users. While the company may do well to share it on the cloud for many reasons, people may want to think twice when they put on the device.
Lawyers may also want to advise certain clients about it.