Wearable devices, including health and activity monitors, video and audio recorders, location trackers, and other interconnected devices in the form of watches, wristbands, glasses, rings, bracelets, belts, gloves, earrings and shoes are being heavily promoted in the next wave of consumer electronics.

It is estimated that 90 million wearable data devices (“WDD”) will be shipped to customers in 2014.  Many of these customers will bring them into the workplace, which will challenge employers to adapt employment and IT policies to these new visitors.

WDDs also are attracting the attention of the FTC and legislators.  The FTC is investigating the collection and use of consumer location data transmitted by smartphones and other devices.  Earlier this month, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) sent a letter to the FTC asking that fitness device companies be required to give users an “opt-out” before sending personal health data to third parties.

Corporate human resources and IT policies are not ready for an influx of these devices and employers do not want to be caught up in the potential for liability.  Smart employers will put policies in place now to manage the integration of WDDs into the workplace, rather than trying to catch up after the fact.  This Advisory outlines the principal issues that any workplace WDD policy should cover.