By Tom Parker

Pampers has announced that it will be releasing a new Lumi smart diaper which was created in collaboration with Logitech and Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) – a research company devoted to the study of life sciences which is owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet. The smart diaper can be used to start tracking babies’ personal information shortly after they’re born and the companies behind Lumi say that aggregate data collected by the diaper will be used to “improve the product”.

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The Lumi smart diaper will be released later this year and includes:

  • Two packs of diapers
  • Two WiFi-enabled reusable detachable sensors which detect urine and stools in the diaper and also monitor how well the baby is sleeping
  • A WiFi-connected 1080p wide-angle HD video monitor with night vision and two-way audio which tracks room temperature and humidity
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Parents who buy the Lumi smart diaper will be able to track the statistics it collects via the Lumi by Pampers app and receive notifications when the diaper is wet. The app can also be used to track the baby’s feeding routine and to monitor the baby via a live video feed. Data is sent to the app from the sensors and video monitor via WiFi.

Currently, there is little information on who the data collected by this Lumi smart diaper will be shared with, how it will be used, or how it will be protected.

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According to The Daily Mail, both Pampers and Verily have said that personal data will just be sent to parents and aggregate data will be used to “improve the product”. They also say that the aggregate data includes all information taken from different sources but doesn’t include private information that is shared directly.

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Presumably, this means that aggregate data includes all the data collected by the monitor and sensors while personal/private data includes sensitive information entered into the app by parents (baby name, date of birth, etc). However, we’ll have to wait for the dedicated Lumi privacy policy to be published to confirm exactly how data sharing and collection will work.

Given the nature of the extremely sensitive data that the Lumi smart diaper collects, the fact that it could be used to start collecting this data shortly after a baby is born, and the involvement of a Google subsidiary, the lack of transparency around data privacy is concerning.

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Google was recently forced to admit that Google contractors listen to recordings from Google Assistant and Google Home after media reports made this public. The partners who listened to these recordings were able to hear addresses, private business information, medical questions, and more. If the Lumi smart diaper does share data with Google, similar privacy violations would be a big concern.

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Featured image source: Pampers – Lumi by Pampers Connected Care System


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