Personal Privacy

Is Your Fitness Tracker Sharing Your Life Without Consent?

The Redacted Brief
Fitness apps seem to have many new and exciting features these days. However, these features come with certain privacy risks especially concerning location data gathering.

One app in particular has been scrutinized for sharing a global heatmap of all of its users’ movement. The application Strava is made so that it starts uploading all of your activity as soon as you start using it. Without specifically opting out, users share their location, name, and photo with other users including complete strangers.

Apps such as MapMyRun and Nike+ RunClub work in a similar fashion. To explain the danger of sharing this much information, we can refer to Strava’s “FlyBy” feature. It shows you data of other users which you’ve passed by while exercising. This allows people to identify and meet other users of the app. However, it can also allow strangers to find out your usual routes, effectively telling them how to track you down or find out where you live. The app also makes no guarantees that it won’t sell your data if asked for it.

There are certain settings you can use to increase the protection of your data in these apps, but none of them give you complete privacy. Most of these apps reserve the right to share your data if it’s anonymized.

A full 30% of these apps don’t even have a privacy policy to begin with. With all this in mind, it might be time to update the legislation regarding personal information in mobile apps. Users should have more control over what they share and who they share it with.

Original Via Wired:

THINK OF YOUR fitness tracker like a personal trainer—one that happens to live on your smartphone. There are things you want it to do, like monitor your heart rate, your pace, the time it took for you to complete your last sprint, and whether your sprints are getting faster over time. And then there are things you don’t particularly want it to do, like stalk your every move and follow you home at night.

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