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International Council on Active Aging




What is privacy and how are our interpretations of it changing with advances in technology? This question, and concerns around potentially violating a person’s right to privacy, have been emerging across industries around the world. Senior living providers have increased their exposure to privacy risks with the shift to implementing sensors throughout their communities. Typically located in digital health devices that can be worn on the body or placed in the environment, these sensors are capable of collecting and tracking data relevant to a person’s health and well-being on a continuous monitoring basis.

There are privacy laws and a growing public awareness that this type of 24/7 surveillance—and the unprecedented detailed level of data it generates—should be accompanied by measures that support personal data protection. It is important to note that these privacy risks also apply outside the housing context. For example, seniors centers that use (or are planning to use) sensors to monitor participants and collect the generated data are similarly exposed.

Benefits of sensor surveillance and monitoring of personal data must be balanced with safeguarding protections, especially for cognitively impaired older adults.

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