Greetings from Gray, Maine!
My wife and children have been wearing fitness trackers for a few years now. It started because the hospital Dr. Pfeifle (it's a Doctorate in Audiology, but good enough for me) works at offered an incentive: Track your steps and win prizes. For the whole family. My wife, a very diligent person, wears her tracker religiously and racks up big dollars in Amazon gift cards. My son, ever his mom's shadow, similarly never takes his tracker off or fails to sync it (he even gets a rash on his wrist sometimes) and has his own beaucoup bucks.
On the flip side, my daughter regularly lets the battery die in hers and has put it through the wash a dozen times. And I ... well, I just can't wear the thing. I hate having stuff on my wrist. No watch, bracelet ... nothing. It just can't happen. For a while, we tried to solve this by getting me a tracker you keep in your pocket. Twenty times through the wash later, I gave up. No Amazon dollars for me. Oh well. It's a voluntary thing and I simply stopped volunteering.
This week, however, I've been told that my distaste for wristwear might disqualify me from life-insurance coverage.
As you'll see below, John Hancock has decided that it will now only underwrite policies where the individual agrees to be tracked. It is, they say, an "interactive" policy. I'm sure every other insurance company will soon follow.
Unsurprisingly, advocates are worried about the privacy implications. I would, for sure, love to see our John Hancock members walk us through their PIA on the decision at the next Summit. It strikes me, though, that everyone is really only considering the data privacy implications. Sure, a breach is inevitable. Sure, there's some sensitive data there. But what about plain old bodily privacy? I have to wear something? On my person? I'm going to be penalized, perhaps monetarily, for preferring not to have a physical object on me at all times? How long until I'm offered a chip to put under my skin?
The very idea, to put it succinctly, is gross. It turns out, I guess, that I am far too prim for the future. Luckily, I've already got my life insurance policy all locked up. But how long until my health insurance policy demands something similar? Yuck.
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