Just because you CAN do something, does that mean you should? With IoT, apparently, not even your tonsils are off-limits when it comes to the collection and possible sale of personal information.
A startup called ONVI, thinks the next IoT personal device you need is a toothbrush. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Craig S. Kohler, D.D.S., M.B.A., M.A.G.D., their IoT toothbrush, Prophix (www.GetProphix.com), is a video toothbrush paired with an app that lets exactly what you’re brushing by getting you up close and personal with your chompers. Perfect for those that have been waiting to live stream their dental hygiene habits. #toothbrushingselfie
You’ll also get the added benefit of not really knowing how Prophix will be using your live streamed, dramatic tooth-brushing footage. If this ambiguous text is any indicator, your data could end up in the hands of 3rd parties with an interest in your cavities. “Prophix attracts patients who care about maintaining and improving their oral health, connecting them with dental health care professionals who share that philosophy.” Imagine getting a targeted ad from your local dentist thanks to your super smart toothbrush. As South Park wisely put it, “You can try to block ads, but they get smarter. The more we try to shut them out, the more clever they get.”
And in case you were wondering, yes, Prophix can sell your personal health data, albeit de-identified, to anyone they feel fit. “We also may share or sell aggregated, de-identified data with partners and the public in a variety of ways, such as by providing research or reports about dental health.” If you do end up purchasing this toothbrush, I’d be very careful about when you’re using the camera. Since you don’t know where that video stream will end up, it might be wise to start brushing your teeth with some pants on. Just a thought. Because they also know where you live. “We also may share the physical location of your Device and/or mobile telephone on which the App is installed, combined with information about what advertisements you viewed and other information we collect, with our marketing partners to enable them to provide you with more personalized content and to evaluate the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.”
What data is Prophix planning on collecting? Here’s just the start: “your first name, last name, e-mail and physical addresses, gender (wait a minute, how do they expect to collect this?!), videos, photographs, certain health information/PHI, social media information, location (GPS) information, transmission data related to syncing a Device to an account, such as brush session data, App session data, motor speed, mobile phone manufacturer, operating system, App version, information regarding how you use and interact with the App, and when necessary, credit card information.” It’s also open ended so they could start collecting any other data they please whenever they’d like.
“As the market is still at a very early stage, a lot of the cool IoT devices we see today are made by startups or at least fast moving teams within bigger companies,” warned Mika Stahlberg, director of strategic threat research at F-Secure to The Guardian. “These kinds of teams typically are very driven and focused on getting their product to the market fast, and tend to travel light. This means that it’s likely there might be some cutting of corners when it comes to selecting which customer data to upstream, how the data is stored, who gets access and how product security has been implemented.”
How much will this camera enabled toothbrush cost you, other than your privacy? If you’re an early adapter, $299. Otherwise, price is set to go up to $400. Small price to pay for selling all your mouth’s PHI (personal health data).
In case you were ready to buy, here’s a list of the features:
- Video Toothbrush: Watch a live video feed on your app as you brush, catching any spots you’re missing.
- Capture and Store Photos: Take pictures of areas of interest and build a record of any changes.
- Wireless Syncing: Pair your Prophix with our app* using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
- Interchangeable Attachments: For brushing, choose a rotating toothbrush or a prophy cup that is similar to what a dental hygienist uses. Also included is a rubber tip that can increase blood flow and remove plaque and tartar, and a mirror that helps you see hard-to-reach places.
- Progress Tracking: Use the app to track how often and how well you brush and see trends over time.
- Motivating Tips: Get easy-to-follow tips to improve oral health care habits.
Read more about 5 Common Misconceptions (and Truths) About IoT.