Digitally tracking people's everyday activities creates a "digital health footprint" that puts one's privacy at risk, according to a JAMA Network Open study.
Researchers interviewed 26 experts about sources of digital information originating outside health care that could help build that footprint (for example, activity apps, text conversations, online banking).
The experts agreed that "all data can become health data." For example, a grocery store receipt could be used to predict a person's haemoglobin A1c level, or GPS coordinates could spot a visit to an abortion clinic. The experts noted that "the line between just general digital data and health data is going to become so blurred... and the regulations are not going to catch up." That could lead to "discrimination based off of just 1 or 2 streams of information."
The experts identified several risky elements of the footprint; for instance, there is a high risk for inaccuracy, the data can exist forever, and the information is highly marketable.