Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen is asking Apple to detail just how the Apple Watch will safeguard user's privacy because the smartwatch will be able to collect and store health-related data. Mr. Jepsen sent Apple CEO Tim Cook a letter on Monday posing his questions and asking for a meeting to discuss his concerns.
Connecticut's AG wants to know how private Apple Watch data is
Apple unveiled its smartwatch during a special media event last week where the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were also introduced. The Apple Watch is an accessory for the iPhone that acts as a secondary interface for functions such as messaging, email, and navigation, and can also log fitness-related information such as how active users are, how far they walk each day, and what their heart rate is.
According to the company, the fitness data Apple Watch collects is encrypted and will be shared only with the healthcare and insurance providers user's explicitly approve.
"When new technologies emerge in consumer markets they inevitably lead to new questions, including questions about privacy," Mr. Jepsen said. "I have found that asking those questions and engaging in a proactive dialogue about privacy concerns before a product comes to market is an effective and mutually beneficial way to ensure that consumer privacy is protected."
Along with his questions about privacy, Mr. Jepsen wants to know how Apple will ensure apps that offer medical diagnosis and treatment advice, or control medical devices that haven't met regulatory approval are blocked from the App Store, according to The News Desk. He also has questions about the consent process for providing collected data to other parties, and exactly what types of information Apple Watch will collect.
Mr, Jensen's questions aren't accusatory, but instead are part of a process to ensure consumers in his state are receiving proper protection for their personal information.
"I am encouraged by Apple's representations that personal health information will be encrypted on the Apple Watch and that users will decide which applications gain access to their health data," he said. "However, as personal information will no doubt be collected and stored in some way, questions remain, and I look forward to the opportunity to have a discussion with Apple."
The Apple Watch won't be available until some time in early 2015, and for now the closest the public has come to seeing one in action was during last week's media event. Apple hasn't publicly responded to Mr. Jensen's inquiry, but will likely cooperate and answer his questions.