VIDEO - The Internet of Bodies: Opportunities, Risks, and Governance | RAND

Internet-connected "smart" devices are increasingly available in the marketplace, including a growing industry of devices that monitor the human body. The authors of this report examine this emerging collection of Internet of Bodies (IoB) technologies; explore benefits, risks, and ethical implications; survey the nascent regulatory landscape; and make recommendations to balance IoB risks and rewards.

Research Questions

  1. What are the benefits, security and privacy risks, and ethical implications of the growing Internet of Bodies (IoB)?
  2. What is being done to regulate the IoB and the data collected by its devices?
  3. What can be done to balance the risks and rewards of the IoB?

Internet-connected "smart" devices are increasingly available in the marketplace, promising consumers and businesses improved convenience and efficiency. Within this broader Internet of Things (IoT) lies a growing industry of devices that monitor the human body and transmit the data collected via the internet. This development, which some have called the Internet of Bodies (IoB), includes an expanding array of devices that combine software, hardware, and communication capabilities to track personal health data, provide vital medical treatment, or enhance bodily comfort, function, health, or well-being. However, these devices also complicate a field already fraught with legal, regulatory, and ethical risks. The authors of this report examine this emerging collection of human body–centric and internet-connected technologies; explore benefits, security and privacy risks, and ethical implications; survey the nascent regulatory landscape for these devices and the data they collect; and make recommendations to balance IoB risks and rewards.

Key Findings

Governance of IoB devices is managed through a patchwork of state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and consumer advocacy groups

As with IoB devices, there is no single entity that provides oversight to IoB data

Recommendations

Funding for this report was provided by a generous grant from Jacques Dubois. The research was conducted by the Center for Global Risk and Security.

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Lee, Mary, Benjamin Boudreaux, Ritika Chaturvedi, Sasha Romanosky, and Bryce Downing, The Internet of Bodies: Opportunities, Risks, and Governance. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2020. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3226.html. Also available in print form.

Lee, Mary, Benjamin Boudreaux, Ritika Chaturvedi, Sasha Romanosky, and Bryce Downing, The Internet of Bodies: Opportunities, Risks, and Governance, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-3226-RC, 2020. As of July 02, 2021: https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3226.html

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3226.html