Privacy, Ethics And Mobile Data Collection

Within the computing industry, it is a common practice for some companies such as marketers and computer software manufacturers to gather data about customers who use their computers, smartphones and tablet computers to access the Internet, a practice known as data mining. Organizations use this data to guide their manufacturing and marketing decisions, so that they will be more capable of providing a beneficial user experience to their customers and growing their business.


Since reliable data collection impacts accurate decision making, gathering precise data and protecting its integrity is an increasing concern for companies, especially with the ever-expanding use of tablet computers and smartphones for data collection. According to June 2013 reports by DC-based think tank Pew Research Center, 56% of American adults are now smartphone owners and 34% of American adults over age 18 own a tablet computer.


Many employees are now bringing their mobile devices into their offices, which raises additional concerns about privacy among business owners. Smartphones and tablet computers help employees to work more efficiently, even when they’re working outside a traditional office environment and performing jobs such as site inspections and surveys. However, these devices are vulnerable to theft and accidental damage. There is also the risk of confidential information stored on the device going out to public channels or being used for unethical purposes.


Organizations that use mobile data collection may have additional data privacy requirements due to legal regulations. The healthcare industry, for example, has the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) Act that governs the ethics of what can and cannot be disclosed about the health information of individuals. Employees who create data collection surveys for the mHealth industry may require special training to make sure that the information they collect and disclose complies with these laws.


The computing industry responded to the need to protect mobile devices from physical damage by creating rugged smartphones and tablet computers capable of withstanding harsh outdoor environments. As a similar form of data protection, mobile data collection systems such as COMMANDmobile® protect the internal data stored within these devices through:


1) 2048-bit Secure Sockets Layer protocol – COMMANDmobile uses a powerful two-key cryptographic system to protect data as it’s transmitted from field employees to offices.


2) Certificate-based authentication – The certificate-based authentication built into COMMANDmobile ensures that only authorized users may access and use COMMANDmobile.


3) Token-based security – Token-based security provides an additional layer of data security protection, especially when data is transmitted from a mobile device to an office via a Wi-Fi connection.


COMMANDmobile enables survey data to be collected easily, quickly and securely. For more information about COMMANDmobile’s other capabilities and its ability to protect data collected in real time during mobile surveys, on-site inspections and field surveillance work, view our product information video or request a demo account.


Related links


HIPAA Compliance Implications For Mobile Health Information Technology


Understanding Mobile Security In The BYOD Era


CIOs Embracing Mobility Must Tackle Security, BYOD Concerns



Filed Under: Mobile Data Collection, Monitoring and Evaluation


Tagged With: Business, Data Integrity, Data Privacy, mHealth, Mobile Health, Mobile Technology, Protect Information, Security, Smartphones, Tablet Computers



About DeAnna Davidson

DeAnna Davidson is a proven technologist and business leader who is passionate about the power of mobile computing to revolutionize a business or industry, and dedicated to helping organizations use mobile, wireless, and web technologies to their advantage.

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