Balancing the Halo: Data Surveillance and Algorithmic Opacity in Smart Hearing Aids

Rhetoric of Health & Medicine 4(1), pp. 33–74

54 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2020 Last revised: 28 May 2021

See all articles by Krista Kennedy

Krista Kennedy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Noah Wilson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Charlotte Tschider

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Date Written: January 11, 2020

Abstract

Medical device manufacturers and other high-technology companies increasingly incorporate algorithmic data surveillance in next-generation medical wearables. These devices, including hearing aids, leverage patient data created through human-computer interaction to not only power devices but also increase corporate profits. Although data protection laws establish privacy requirements for personal information collection and use, these companies continue to use patients’ personal information with little notice or education, significantly curtailing the agency of wearers. We explore the complex ecology of the Starkey Halo smart hearing aid, focusing on the opacity of its algorithmic functionality and examining patient education materials for disclosures of data surveillance. We contextualize these findings within relevant privacy doctrines in the United States and European Union that are relevant to algorithmic surveillance and recommend specific steps to enhance wearer agency through informed decision-making.

Keywords: disability, Internet of Things, privacy, data protection, medical wearables, medical device, artificial intelligence, biocapitalism

Suggested Citation

Kennedy, Krista and Wilson, Noah and Tschider, Charlotte, Balancing the Halo: Data Surveillance and Algorithmic Opacity in Smart Hearing Aids (January 11, 2020). Rhetoric of Health & Medicine 4(1), pp. 33–74, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3521614 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3521614

Krista Kennedy

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Noah Wilson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Charlotte Tschider (Contact Author)

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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