Could Wearable Technology Transform the Traditional Concept of Habeas Corpus?

The aim of this paper regards the analysis of privacy management of wearable devices (hereinafter “WD”) absorbing personal data from a user’s body and from his or her behaviour. There are many discussions on privacy, and WD privacy management is only one of them, while the main one is about what privacy is. Indeed, there are different opinions on managing the most individual private information. On the one hand, some people affirm that privacy, in an age of invasive electronic communication, should be a fundamental right. On the other hand, other views support that privacy has to be treated as an additional service that the user can buy if markets are interested in it. Indeed, the strict contact between the user’s body and the wearable device may give the impression that privacy is a “plus” service included with the WD product. However, privacy regards an individual fundamental right, and personal data collected through WD (or through other devices that are in close contact with user’s body and life) have to be strongly protected.

This paper is organized as follows: 1. it analyzes what WDs are and what the privacy issues are involved using them; 2. then, the paper briefly defines habeas corpus in an historical sense and its transformation into the concept of “habeas data”; 3. it shows some of the most sensitive cases of privacy protection using WDs; 4. the article compares the U. S. and E. U. legal perspective on these issues; 5. finally, it offers some concise conclusions.