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Will the new Apple Watch be secure, or are we simply giving away more of our information?

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

11 September 2014

If you weren’t one of the (approximately) one billion people watching the Apple Event this week, you might not be aware that the company launched the widely anticipated Apple Watch, their first piece of iPhone-compatible wearable technology.

The Apple Watch promises to bring email, Facebook, texts, maps, apps and Siri to our wrists, eliminating the need to dig our phones out of our pockets in many instances. The device will also act as a health buddy, reading your pulse and recording your daily activity with its heart rate monitor and accelerometer. This data will be fed into Apple’s Activity and Workout apps, and will be made available to other third-party fitness apps too.

A recent study by Acquity found that take up for wearable fitness devices like the Apple Watch is likely to be 22% by the end of 2015 and almost 50% within 5 years.

However, the automatic collection of our most intimate data has raised questions about whether we are giving away our privacy in the name of convenience – or rather, something else packaged as convenience. Do we really need an iWatch to tell us if we’re getting a minute of activity per hour of sitting? Do we really need to trace the amount of calories we’ve burned per day, and have Apple store this information for us? What need is there for us to allow ever more intimate tracking of ourselves?

In the wake of “the Fappening” – the theft of personal images from the iCloud accounts of over 100 celebrities – Apple’s security has already come into question in the last month. Apple claim again and again that they are not in the business of collecting data (with a sharp sideways glance at rivals Google), but that isn’t really the question.

With Apple Maps and its geo-location technology on your wrist everywhere you go, as well as data about your daily activity and your schedules, is the Apple Watch just another device that could betray your exact location and actions? With email and Facebook connected to the Apple Watch, and the all-new, totally digital Apple Pay included on it, is all your personal and financial information not compromised to an even greater extent?

In the words of Antoine Rizk, VP of Global Go-To-Market Programs at API management specialists Axway, “How this device collects and stores data and how access is secured are key questions Apple needs to address to help allay consumer fears”.

Perhaps we consumers also need to think about whether we value so-called convenience over our privacy.

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