One of the founding principles of the Sports Performance & Tech magazine was to help inform on sports analytics. Having spent a lot of time around sports scientists and data scientists who work within sports, it became clear that there was a need for a publication that discussed the challenges they face and new developments in the area.
Since its inception 4 years ago, we have seen some amazing developments. From the amount of data being collected through to how it is being actioned, it is an almost unrecognizable practice.
However, recent weeks have shown that, although we are doing some amazing things as an industry, there are others that we aren’t - namely data protection.
The hacks from the Fancy Bears group have shown that there are some considerable weaknesses in the system that need to be fixed. It is bad to have your money stolen, but having your medical records leaked to the world is a far more intimate and disturbing proposition.
We are doing some truly amazing things with the data we collect, but despite improving performances and decreasing injuries, the most important element of any data collection programme should be security. It has been claimed that the hack occurred because of a spear phishing scam, where an individual was conned into giving their login information to a hacker who then breached the system. It shows that we need to protect our data better and train our people better too.
The implications of this isn’t simply the embarrassment of having to explain TUEs or medical conditions, it is that it could potentially put future athletes off. If somebody has a lifelong condition that is easily treatable with something under a TUE, are they likely to want to risk being outed as a cheat when they are simply levelling the playing field?
It is something that many organizations already take seriously, but we need to make sure this importance is seen everywhere, not just for the select few.
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