Ask the expert: Are wearables too invasive?

Image of Professor Greg Whyte
Director of Performance, Centre for Health and Human Performance
09 May 2018

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This article is more than three years old. It reflects the best available evidence at the time of publication.

When talking about wearable technology – or smartwatches – some people’s initial reaction may be that technology is going too far, and invading our lives. But Professor Grey Whyte argues that wearables are only as invasive as we choose to make them. Here, the sports scientist, former Olympian, and brand ambassador for Fitbit, dispels our concerns with some reassuring advice on how to use and manage this technology.


Ask the expert: Are wearables too invasive?

Wearables are invasive by their nature, but to some extent it’s a personalised invasiveness. Your data is your data, and actually it’s not data that can be used for anything else really. It’s just a feedback of what you are doing, and how you are living your life.

Should we share information?

You are in control. Wearable tech is your tech. You’re in control of where that data goes, and who sees that data. So you can narrow or expand it as much as you like - as much as you feel comfortable with. So to some extent is it invasive? Of course it’s invasive by its very nature, but it’s up to you where you take it in terms of its invasiveness, and who you share it with.

Managing our technology

I think the key is that actually how invasive it is is all about choice, so where you let people see your data. So I think that’s the key to wearables – it’s in your control. And the great thing about the wearable is that it stays on you until you upload it somewhere. And having uploaded it somewhere it’s where you upload it to from there. So it’s about granting access – in other words it’s in your control. So is it invasive? Yes it’s invasive, but it’s only as invasive as you choose to make it. 

Image of Professor Greg Whyte
Professor Greg Whyte
Director of Performance, Centre for Health and Human Performance

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