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IoT Devices Should Deal with Privacy Impacts for People with Disabilities

Outline: Future of Privacy Forum releases; The Internet of Things (IoT) and People with Disabilities: Exploring the Benefits, Challenges, and Privacy Tensions.

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The Future of Privacy Forum today released The Internet of Things (IoT) and People with Disabilities: Exploring the Benefits, Challenges, and Privacy Tensions. This paper explores the nuances of privacy considerations for people with disabilities using IoT services and provides recommendations to address privacy considerations, which can include transparency, individual control, respect for context, the need for focused collection and security.

"Internet of Things devices in homes, cars and on our bodies can improve the quality of life for people with disabilities - if they are designed to be accessible and account for the sensitive nature of the data they collect," said Jules Polonetsky, CEO of the Future of Privacy Forum. "We expect this first-of-its-kind paper to inspire collaboration among advocates, academia, government, and industry to 'bake in' privacy and accessibility from the start of the design process."

"Data-driven innovation has created new tools that can improve disabled people's safety, mobility, and independence, leading to enhanced privacy," said Henry Claypool, Policy Director of the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco, Technology Consultant to the American Association of People with Disabilities and FPF Senior Fellow. "However, companies and advocates should recognize that the IoT can bring unique privacy considerations."

FPF recommends companies and policymakers follow these recommendations to improve the experiences of people with disabilities when they use IoT-enables devices and respect their privacy:

IoT devices and services are empowering people with disabilities to participate more fully and autonomously in everyday life by reducing some needs for human intermediaries or accommodations. In addition to the potential benefits of IoT devices and services for people with disabilities, unique privacy risks and challenges can be raised by the collection, use, and sharing of user data. Depending on the circumstances, privacy can be enhanced or diminished by IoT technologies, creating potential tensions between privacy gains and losses.

FPF received support for the paper from the Comcast Innovation Fund and consulted with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) Technology Forum.

The Future of Privacy Forum is a non-profit organization that serves as a catalyst for privacy leadership and scholarship, advancing principled data practices in support of emerging technologies. Learn more about FPF by visiting www.fpf.org

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