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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 publication




Journal article


Am J Prev Med

Publication Date





314 - 319


Cell Phone, Computers, Handheld, Confidentiality, Health Behavior, Health Surveys, Humans, Informed Consent, Interpersonal Relations, Photography