Surveillance and wearable devices

It is obvious to see, with the development of wearable technology, people can use wearable devices to monitor  body. Various wearable products are in market now. The dash earplugs can measure the user’s heart rate, body temperature, walking speed, the number of steps and calorie consumption level. Only by putting the wireless earplug into the ear can it realise the function of data detection.D-Shirtsmart jacket is able to send the users’ activity data to phone via Bluetooth and its weight is similar to ordinary clothes. The intelligent diaper is really practical. Inventors developed intelligent diaper to perfect supervision of baby’s excretion.Intelligent diapers can not only provide the data about the baby’s kidney function, but also make a warning of the infant’s urinary tract infection.


Photo credit: Google Glass by Lawrence’s (CC BY 2.0)

Following the Google glasses, Google continues to research and develop on the advanced wearable devices. Google is developing a contact lens that can detect the user’s glucose content and help to calculate the blood glucose of diabetic.

Tweets embedded from my Twitter account: @annabelfeng

The most popular wearable device must be iWatch this year. One of the gossips about Apple watch has attracted my attention: At first, Apple watch was equipped with various sensors which can measure diversified human health indicators, such as body’s stress levels, heart rate, blood pressure,blood sugar and amount of oxygen in the blood, but these medical measuring functions were cut down when Apple watch was formally launched this year. Why?


Photo credit: Apple Watch 3D models by Martin Hajek (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

As far as I am concerned, the answers are about the surveillance:

1. Where is the boundary between wearable health devices and professional medical devices? Currently on the market, the wearable devices mainly focus on human health data collection and analysis, such as heart rate, body temperature, sleep quality and calorie intake and consumption etc. With the development of a variety of intelligent measurement technology, the boundary of wearable health equipment and medical devices which under strict supervision are becoming increasingly blurred. Does it necessary for wearable devices to get through regulatory scrutiny before be sold in market?


Photo credit: Privacy by Sean MacEntee (CC BY 2.0)

2. The individual privacy. In fact, the essence of wearable health devices are health data collection and user storage, of course, the collected data may also be uploaded to the cloud server. Like many wearable devices, the use of police body-worn cameras raises heated discussion about privacy for it can record everything they meet whenever police choose to go (Randy and Bryce 2016), it can be used in private homes as well. At present, none of the countries have law that requests special approval before commercial enterprises collect and store personal health information through wearable devices. However, the protection of privacy is highly appreciated by the society in the Internet age, companies should be careful in dealing with personal information. Regarding the privacy controversy about body-worn cameras, Elizabeth (2016) believes that the clear data control policies will be helpful.


Reference list:

Elizabeth, E.J 2016, ‘Beyond surveillance: data control and body cameras’, Surveillance & Society, vol.14, no.1, pp. 133-137.

Randy, K.L & Bryce, C.N 2016, ‘Debate introduction: the privacy and surveillance implications of police body cameras’, Surveillance & Society, vol.14, no.1, pp. 113-116.


Surveillance and advertising

Advertising plays an important role in our society since it can be seen everywhere in our community. Along with the gradual transformation of social economy, the change of marketing methods and the diversity of consumer demand, advertising appears in more forms such as digital ones. Therefore, advertising regulation is facing more challenges in this new era. Surveillance becomes significant in the improvement of advertising industry for it is meaningful to reduce negative impact of advertising and optimal allocation of advertising resources.

Tweets embedded from my Twitter account: @annabelfeng

It is often difficult for consumers to identify products when facing lots of advertising in the market. Now some drug advertisers are more likely to aim at the old people for they often lack of information and awareness of risks. They often use words like ‘free experience center’ and ‘health management centre’ to attract old people, and then exaggerate the effect of their products in order to let them buy in a very expensive price. What’s more, as a special group, juveniles are another high-risk victim of advertising. They often mislead by the ‘fantastic’ words and images of ads and sometimes advertising may induce blind competition among youngsters. Children or even young people often lack independent judgment and the ability of self protection, they are more likely to make unreasonable purchase.

In fact, the potential harm of commercial advertising to young adults has already been recognized by regulation institutions. They have issued proposals that the advertising industry should not damage the physical and mental health of young people. However, with the rapid development of the internet, online advertising as a new from of ads has been gradually applied to the marketing activities. Compared with the traditional media ads, online advertising has lots of new features such as highly targeted and wide range of coverage. How to effectively supervise the online advertising market becomes an important issue. For example, though advertising regulation institution have already restricted and regulated tobacco advertising, online advertising has allowed the tobacco industry to promote cigars and cigarettes since online advertising related rules are incomplete (Freeman and Chapman 2008). It is discovered that tobacco advertisements were more likely to spread through websites, such as music sites and social media, where up to 35% of the users are youth under 18 and up to 34% are young adults among 18-24 years old. Because young adults may be more impacted by such advertisements than older people by implied advertisement messages for they often lack independent judgment (Amanda, Ollle & Donna 2013).


Photo Credit: 1969 Ad, Salem Cigarettes, Young Woman in Meadow with Flowers by Newsweek (CC BY-NC 2.0)

It is delighted to see that traditional advertising regulation has been improved a lot. Recently, the results of public support for increased regulation of drug ads has increased a lot. The U.S. pharmaceutical industry’s trade group has announced DTC marketing guidelines that require their member PHRMA companies to submit their own advertisements to the FDA prior to their broadcasting. The so-called ‘reminder’ advertisements are also banned (Cowden and Katz 2006).

Tweets embedded from my Twitter account: @annabelfeng


With regard to online advertisement, celebrities should responsible for their advertising posts. Celebrities should bear the relevant legal responsibilities if they post false advertisements on social media and mislead their followers.

Photo Credit: 1977 cosmetics Ad, Cover Girl Mascara with Young Cheryl Tiegs by Classic Film (CC BY-NC 2.0)





Reference list:

Amanda, R, Ollle G & Donna, V 2013, ‘Tobacco on the web: surveillance and characterization of online tobacco and e-cigarette advertising’, Tob Control, vol.24, pp. 341-347.

Cowden, A & Katz, K 2006, ‘Food and drug administration surveillance of dermatology-related and nondermatology-related prescription drug advertising in the U.S.A., 2000-2003’,British Journal of Dermatology, vol. 154, no. 5, pp. 950-958.

Freeman, B, Chapman, S 2008, ‘Gone viral? Heard the buzz? A guide for public health practitioners and researchers on how Web 2.0 can subvert advertising restrictions and spread health information’,J Epidemiol Community Health, vol. 62, no. 7, pp. 78-82.