January 23, 2022

New Report From Future of Privacy Forum (FPF): IoT Devices Should Deal with Privacy Impacts for People with Disabilities

From the Future of Privacy Forum:

The Future of Privacy Forum today [Jan. 31] released The Internet of Things (IoT) and People with Disabilities: Exploring the Benefits, Challenges, and Privacy Tensions. This paper explores the nuances of privacy considerations for people with disabilities using IoT services and provides recommendations to address privacy considerations, which can include transparency, individual control, respect for context, the need for focused collection and security.


PF recommends companies and policymakers follow these recommendations to improve the experiences of people with disabilities when they use IoT-enables devices and respect their privacy:

  1. Prioritize inclusive design. Accessibility and the privacy of people with disabilities should not be an afterthought for the IoT and new technology developers—people with disabilities should be included in the design of IoT technologies. The appropriate timing for integrating accessibility is during the earliest possible stage of design.
  2. Promote research. In order to successfully build the IoT with universal or accessible design, research—both qualitative and quantitative—is needed to understand how people with disabilities utilize the IoT and feel about the current privacy landscape of the IoT.
  3. Privacy by Design approaches should consider people with disabilities. Companies should take into account the sensitive nature of the data collected from the IoT used by people with disabilities and address those consideration in the design of IoT products.
  4. Foster cross-sector collaborations. Advocates, academia, government, and industry should work together to develop IoT solutions that meet the needs of people with disabilities.
  5. Enhance awareness of data risks and benefits. Policymakers should consider not only the potential enhanced risks that people with disabilities face when using the IoT, but also the enhanced autonomy that these very same technologies provide. Members of the disability community should consider becoming engaged in policy processes and voicing their views on the privacy challenges that they face when using IoT devices and services.

Direct to Full Text Report
32 pages; PDF.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.