Google goes into the insurance industry, and opens for extreme monitoringGoogle has bought into an insurance company that will use high technology to monitor their customers. It is the hook on the door for privacy? http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/kommentarer/Google-gar-inn-i-forsikringsbransjen_-og-apner-for-ekstrem-overvaking-8179409.html
(Translation and errors by Freetranslate and me, links in English, Norwegian and Denish)
Google's Chief Executive Larry Page has opened the window in the money bin ajar and thrown 268 Million Kroner out on a bunch of entrepreneurs
in a three-year-old company. Not so remarkable in itself, insofar as, Google invests in all kinds of projects all the time. A few hundred million here and a few hundred million there. An able investigative journalist with ambitions to win prices should soon try to find out what Google does not invest in. Google's ownership interests in the entrepreneurial business after the investment is also just two percent, so yawn. Hey, wait a minute ... Oscar Health Insurance, called the investment object. Google into the insurance industry? What is Larry up to now?Valuable data
Oscar is not an ordinary insurance company, it turns out. The idea the three young founders had when they started up three years ago, was to differentiate the prices of health insurance. Do you drink like a swamp, smokes like a chimney and eat like a horse, and even mostly lies on the couch, you will sooner or later get into trouble with your health. It costs money. Especially in America. For insurance companies, it is, therefore, a wet dream to get access to reliable information about how their customers live, and how it affects their health, so that they can demand more money of the high risk group. But that's easier said than done. Health data and patient records are not things that are left everywhere. They are classified by the privacy considerations. And privacy
is not something one should take lightly. The right to a private life is completely central to both the Convention of human rights and the Constitution, because we should have the right to a personal space where we can act freely, without interference from the Government or others. But as it turns out, then, that the technology once again turns the Earth on his head.The boundaries move
to develop new services, or as Google calls it: "custom content". So far it has mostly been about search results and ads. When Google's Chief Economist, Hal Varian, now says that he is interested in using the data Google sitting on
to customize the insurance offer to each individual, it raises a number of ethical issues. An insurance company with Google on the owner's ID will be able to acquire much more information than they had been able to read in the patient journals if they had managed to break into the vault. And as if that wasn't enough, they get help in the monitoring work of the things we surround ourselves with around the clock.Drools and scrapes
Most people have a smart phone that is full of sensors. Soon all have smart watches, too, with even more sensors. New sensors comes to every single day, in the form of plaster tags, microchips, or almost nothing. There are sensors the size of sand grains, so small that they can be packed into a pill.
When the sensor comes in contact with stomach acid, it sends a signal to your Smartphone, which sends the information to your doctor. Or the insurance company, then, so they can make sure that you are not sloppy with your medicines. Google has designed contact lenses that can measure the insulin level in the eye fluid several times a second, to transfer data wireless to your phone, and so on to Google. One of Oscar Health Insurance-founders, Mario Schlosser, makes no secret that he would like to offer customers who use Google's contact lenses a good deal.
So it's quite possible to monitor body temperature, heart rate, perspiration, respiration, sleep patterns and insulin level, just to name some. Better than the Observation/Monitoring Department at a hospital. Continuously. Around the clock. The data can be stored, transmitted and analyzed. Anything is possible. The question is who will have access to the data.Sweetens the pill
According to Årnes of the Norwegian Data Protection Authority are technology giants totally dependent on that we are comfortable with what they do. Therefore, they begin very gently, with services which all can like, for then to increases with more gradually. To let an insurance company use Google's data about individuals to extreme monitoring is obviously hard for people to swallow. Therefore, it is extremely important for Google to pack in their message.
When my kids to swallow bitter pills, I tend to crush them (pills) in a little jam. Oscar and Google does the same thing by this way sweeten the pill: you paying too much for your insurance, because you have to splice on the consequences of other people's excesses and low morale. Why should it, when you live healthy? It should pay to take responsibility. We see that you are living healthy and taking little risk, we reward you for it, under the slogan "Pay as you live". In addition, the initiative our noble and commendable, because it motivates our customers to live healthier. What's wrong with that?A crossroad for privacy
To be fair, discrimination is not something new, but a continuation of insurance models we already know. The companies give the discounts to the already experienced drivers who demonstrably have run without damage for many years-because the young, inexperienced and risk-enhancing drivers more often are involved in accidents. Right now the insurance company Tryg
in Bergen offers a trial
with cheap insurance to customers who are willing to install a "black box" in the car.
One can of course look at Google's investment in Oscar Health Insurance as a positive development for all of us who are 'cooking from the bottom', running in the Woods and have a high morale. Or one can look at it as a crossroads, where the choices we take now will determine whether we in the future will be punished financially if we are not willing to let us be monitored, or for any reason does not fit within the customer group with iron health, whether it is due to genetics, diet, work-related injuries or other things. It depends on the eye that looks. In Denmark
have consumer authorities decided on that differentiation will lead to a monitoring and sorting community where a stigmatized B team splicer at the A-team's discounts. Thousand-cent's question is whether it is possible to avoid.Needs to go up to EU-level
The five strongest driving forces in the technological development right now are, smart phones, social media, big data, sensors and location-based technology. Oscar and Google hits the plank when they take perfectly in use all at once. The response has been usable, today's Oscar Health Insurance valued at 14.4 billion kroner. It explains why Larry Page is top motivated for the project, and then the Data Protection Authority becomes a soft opponent. The hope must be that the corresponding supervisory authorities in the rest of Europe's Nations are gathering, and that the European Union can put the foot down. It could well happen. It has happened before.
Written by Joacim Lund
Google har kjøpt seg inn i et forsikringsselskap som vil bruke høyteknologi til å overvåke kundene sine. Er det kroken på døra for personvernet?