Not content with bringing TV, broadband and phone services to your home, Comcast is now developing a healthcare device that will use sensors to monitor your vitals and habits. According to TechRadar, Comcast’s device will use sensors to monitor whether you’re spending more time in bed than normal, and whether you’re making more trips than usual to the bathroom, as frequent bathroom breaks can be a sign of digestive or prostate problems that are much easier to treat if caught early. The devices won’t connect to other smart home appliances, but it will have a ‘personality’ like a virtual personal assistant, with voice recognition for commands. Comcast hasn’t revealed how much the hardware will cost, but it intends to start a pilot program at the end of this year, with a possible roll-out in 2020. 

Boris Cipot, Senior Security Engineer at Synopsys:

The private data that will be collected here has the potential to be misused in a variety of ways that are reminiscent of the Fitbit data breach that took place a few years ago. In that instance, attackers gained access to private data from Fitbit users—data monitoring training schedules, sleep schedules, and data that could lead someone to infer when other activities were going on in the bedroom. That type of information could be as harmful as that obtained in the Ashley Madison breach that took place in 2015, in the event that those activities are happening when you’re not with your partner.   

“This device, like so many others, is intended to benefit the user. However, data privacy and security play a major role here. This device should be classified as a medical device so it falls under the same ruleset for data protection standards.” 

 

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