Using New Technologies in the Workplace: Relieving Headaches by Creating New Ones?

May 27, 2014 | Blog

Google Glass, Google’s controversial wearable technology, may have just gone on sale to the public, but many industries have already found that the technology is making their work easier and more efficient. For instance, in March, the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston posted that his hospital has been testing Google Glass to deliver real time information about patients to the treating physician, receiving favorable reviews from those who used it. Similarly, the School of Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, recently announced that it would be using Google Glass as part of its curriculum for all of its medical students. Outside of the medical context, police departmentsprivate businesses, and even lawyers have begun to use Google Glass to facilitate day-to-day operations as well.

Google Glass and similar wearable  technologies are not without their difficulties because these devices create, store, and access information and may implicate legal requirements of which users may not be readily be aware. There are a number of federal statutes, like HIPAA and Gramm Leach Bliley, and state statutes that regulate the control and use of personal information, especially in the medical or financial context, and these statutes may be implicated by the fact that data sent to and from Google Glass must sync through the cloud. The Terms of Use agreements for such services may indicate that all data uploaded to the service may be used and disclosed as the service provider wishes, or may be stored with security safeguards that do not meet certain federal or state standards. Fortunately, with forethought, proper infrastructure, and the implementation of security protocols, these concerns can be mitigated. For instance, Beth Israel Deaconess designed its implementation to ensure that the Google Glass devices that are used in its facility to send and receive information from the hospital’s networks behind the hospital’s firewall. Designing a company’s infrastructure and security protocols for new technology like Google Glass requires a careful study of the various laws applicable to the subject industry.

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