Pentagon to track soldiers' smartphones to spot their health
New York: The Pentagon is working on an app that will keep track of US soldiers' health and deliver cost-saving treatment by monitoring the data accumulated on their smartphones, the media reported.
According to The Washington Post, scientists at the Pentagon's secretive weapons development arm wants to use soldiers' smartphone's camera, microphone and motion sensors to monitor signs of illness.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) last week announced that it has awarded a $5.1 million contract to cybersecurity company Kryptowire to develop "Warfighter Analytics using Smartphones for Health" programme (WASH) to spot diseases based on data that it collects from a person's smartphone.
"Ultimately, this could mean better treatment, cost savings and making treatment available to more people," Tom Karygiannis, Kryptowire's Vice President of Product, was quoted as saying.
However, the idea has led privacy advocates raise questions on the implementation.
"People don't want to feel like someone is listening in on their private life. That's going to have to be subject to tight controls," Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union, was quoted as saying.
The WASH development programme started last year and would continue through 2021.
"The programme aims to develop algorithms that use raw data from smartphone sensors to enable continuous and real-time assessment" of warfighters' health status, identifying latent or developing conditions and diseases, Jared Adams, DARPA Communications Chief, was quoted as saying.
According to a factsheet published by Pentagon, the app would collect data from smartphone features, including cameras, light sensors, pedometers, fingerprint sensors, microphones and other sources.
Kryptowire officials said that one goal of the research was to find a way to keep that data private and safe from hackers or leaks.