An ethical framework for automated, wearable cameras in health behavior research

Paul Kelly*, Simon J. Marshall, Hannah Badland, Jacqueline Kerr, Melody Oliver, Aiden R. Doherty, Charlie Foster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technologic advances mean automated, wearable cameras are now feasible for investigating health behaviors in a public health context. This paper attempts to identify and discuss the ethical implications of such research, in relation to existing guidelines for ethical research in traditional visual methodologies. Research using automated, wearable cameras can be very intrusive, generating unprecedented levels of image data, some of it potentially unflattering or unwanted. Participants and third parties they encounter may feel uncomfortable or that their privacy has been affected negatively. This paper attempts to formalize the protection of all according to best ethical principles through the development of an ethical framework. Respect for autonomy, through appropriate approaches to informed consent and adequate privacy and confidentiality controls, allows for ethical research, which has the potential to confer substantial benefits on the field of health behavior research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-319
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


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