Medella; Biometrics and Data Privacy: An Analysis of Policies

Huang, Grace, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Seabrook, Bryn, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Ibrahim, Ahmed, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

The Capstone project involved developing a web application for Medella, a Charlottesville-based startup that aims to reduce health-related issues in the United States. This online platform aims to encourage health and wellness in corporations and individuals by educating users about such topics through various forms of media. This media is regularly sent out to users to enable them to think about incorporating healthy habits in their daily lives. The finished product provides Medella with a platform to send out newsletters and register users with their services in a scalable manner. Overall, this project aims to reduce healthcare costs for its users by educating them about healthy lifestyles.

Biometrics, or a way to measure a person’s physical characteristics to verify their identity, is an emerging technology that has become increasingly incorporated into personal electronics. However, the security of biometrics is uncertain. The STS research paper investigates the following research question: What social factors shaped current laws regarding biometric data regulation in the United States and what is the significance of such regulations? To answer this question, research is organized through policy analysis of various laws concerning the privacy of biometric information in the United States from 2008, when the first U.S. biometric privacy policy was implemented, to 2020. The STS research paper investigates the development of such policies over time using Thomas Hughes’s theory of technological momentum. Through this analysis, the motivations for implementing these laws can be explained by the social and political context in the United States at the time. By investigating how and why these policies came about, the current state of privacy protection of biometric information may be better understood.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Technological Momentum, Biometrics, Data Privacy

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Technical Advisor: Ahmed Ibrahim
STS Advisor: Bryn Seabrook
Technical Team Members: Audrey Fifer, James Hamil, Jackson Kennedy, David Mehani, Aditi Takle, Bernice Wu

Issued Date: