Technological development has guided human civilization for its entire existence. In the last century, the rate of this development has increased to unprecedented levels. As the new capabilities allowed by innovative technologies can be enormous, their implications can become more challenging to take into account. Because of this, legislation can fail to account for recent innovations. Thus, tracking individuals, communication and distribution of information online, and gathering, storage, and dissemination of personal information have become topics of significant legislative and ethical concern. It is this interplay of the technology, ethics, and laws that interest me most. Therefore, I want to learn of the variety of issues that can happen and have happened on the intersection of these key fields, and the related societal and regulatory implications.
One particular area where technological advancement may create such issues is the development of devices that collect medical data on an individual and transfer it to healthcare professionals. Personal devices such as fitness bracelets are a common example of such wearable technology, and implantable ones are currently being investigated for a variety of medical applications (Garcia-Miquel, et al., 2017). The telemetry provided by such implants can allow medical specialists to acquire and store extreme amounts of medically relevant information on their patients. In turn, this amount of data can be beneficial in providing timely, accurate, and efficient diagnosis and treatment. However, the storage, analysis, and distribution of this data also requires increased security in regulation to prevent breaches of privacy or other misuse. This raises issues of the devices’ technical security and resistance to data interception, as well as ethical and regulatory implications concerning the use of such data. These issues demand innovative solutions, and become more pressing as the technology involved becomes more widespread.
Garcia-Miquel, A., Curto, S., Vidal, N., Lopez-Villegas, J. M., Ramos, F. M., & Prakash, P. (2017). Multilayered broadband antenna for compact embedded implantable medical devices: Design and characterization. Progress In Electromagnetics Research, 159, 1-13. Web.