New Rules on Workplace Wellness Programs Make Employees Pay for Privacy

You might soon be paying more for your insurance than some of your coworkers if you are unwilling to share your medical information with your employer, according to rules released May 16 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The new rules allow employers to charge employees a penalty equal to 30 percent of the total employer-employee cost of employee-only health insurance unless they divulge their health data to their employer’s workplace wellness program. Spouses can also be charged another …

AARP Opposes Employer Invasion of Medical Privacy

UPDATE (5/16/2016): AARP is deeply disappointed with the new EEOC rules on workplace wellness programs. Read our press release. ***** With election season in full force, much of the work inside Washington is flying under the radar. While Congress remains deeply divided, there continues to be action on the regulatory front. One such development should be a real attention grabber: a proposed Obama administration rule that would allow an employer’s workplace wellness program to require you and your family to …

Making the Smart Home a Secure Home

After years of waiting, the “smart home” is finally becoming a reality for many consumers. The idea behind the smart home is to help automate routine tasks and make homes more efficient. New products promising to make the lives of consumers better are hitting the shelves daily. Appliances, toothbrushes, lighting, security systems, and heating/cooling equipment controllable by smartphones or computers are now available. One recent study projects the smart home market worldwide will grow from between 100 million and 200 …

The Promise and Pitfalls of Wearable Technology

It’s been almost impossible to avoid the constant stream of media reports discussing the pending release of the Apple Watch. While pundits delve into details about technical specifications and pricing of the watch, it’s easy to overlook the growing trend toward wearable technology (wearables) and the role this technology may play in the lives of those using it. Some will view these devices as expensive gadgets for tech lovers. Others believe this technology can offer important benefits to consumers, particularly …

The Thing About the Internet of Things

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Often, the discussion revolves around issues associated with data privacy and cybersecurity. So what is the IoT and what’s all the fuss about? IoT refers to the ever-expanding array of devices that can communicate to external networks. While we all realize our computers and smartphones are connecting to the outside world, more and more devices such as fitness trackers, cameras, cars and thermostats are doing so as well. …

Is Someone Following You Around the Store as You Shop?

Well, they might be – if you are one of the 58 percent of adult Americans who own a smartphone. Each smartphone broadcasts a unique identifying code through signals emitted as the phone searches for available networks. Retailers can track these signals and follow the in-store movements of customers as they shop. Most consumers understand that online stores track shoppers as they navigate around their websites. Yet, few realize some brick-and-mortar retail stores and shopping malls are using smartphone mobile analytics …