Ahh I don’t know if I’ve ever been so uncomfortable / angry / distressed / $*#&!^$ about a piece of software! I second your concerns as well as the concerns that other classmates have raised in the comments.
One other concern I have is the danger should employers learn that an employee is trying to get pregnant and struggling, since this could indicate that costly fertility treatments are around the corner. These expenses are relevant for male employees too, if their wife is on their employer-sponsored healthcare plan, but as you mentioned it would presumably only be women using the app and therefore only female employees potentially penalized in this scenario.
So many problems!
Thanks for sharing this company – we talk a lot about how wearables could slot into health insurance, but this is my first time seeing this company!
I share your concerns about privacy and data monetization, but even if Vitality could provide a perfect solution to these concerns, I still wouldn’t be sold on the concept. To implement, one of two things has to happen: 1) employers (who are the insurance gatekeepers in the U.S.) would have to require utilization, which is an egregious breach of personal freedoms that is neither legal in the U.S. nor ethical; or 2) employers would allow employees to opt in or out, and eventually the employees who decide to opt out for one reason or another will face artificially-inflated premiums since they will become the “market for lemons” and their insurance could become unaffordable.
I really, really loved your point about using people analytics only to expand possibilities – and this actually feels like an implementable policy for most companies and most situations!
Thank you for this summary! I also feel uncomfortable with this technology, and I appreciate the 3 buckets you’ve used to summarize potential points of discomfort.
However, I do question this statement: “Ultimately such practices will hurt productivity due to employee turnover and low morale.” This could, in theory, be proven or disproven by looking at actual employee turnover data and surveys of morale – and my hunch would be that Amazon has crunched the numbers, since that’s what Amazon does, and they keep using the technology despite widespread ethical concerns (and the resulting PR nightmare) because they’ve found that turnover and morale aren’t problematic enough to offset the gains in efficiency from using the tracker.
Ultimately I suspect that it won’t be pure economics that convince Amazon or other companies to abandon these technologies.
Agreed to your point about limiting data collection to when the driver is on-the-job – but I also think that access and use has to be limited. I worry about any employer having access to data that could potentially uncover a health problem or condition; this opens up so many opportunities for discrimination (especially when employers are providing health insurance). For this reason, I think that SmartCap needs to take on the data monitoring themselves, rather than ever giving the employer access to the data.