Is Your Fitness Tracker Sharing Your Vital Statistics

Is Your Fitness Tracker Sharing Your Vital Statistics


I’m out here in Vancouver. I just took a run
and it reminded me of a question that someone asked me in one of my speeches this morning,
which is: Are those fitness tracking devices sacrificing our privacy? I’m going to tell
you whether or not they are and how to stop it if you hang on for just a second. I’m John Sileo and this is Sileo on Security.
The great rage right now is fitness or health tracking devices, the Fitbits, the Garmins,
even the Apple watches that we wear to track everything that we do. It could be the mileage
we go, the steps we take, the elevation we gain, our pulse, our heartbeat. Are we in
good shape or bad shape? It tracks that data and syncs it from the device to an app on
our phone or on our computer and then it aggregates that data. The big question that people have is: Is this
being tracked? Is this incredibly vital health information being sold to other companies?
Is it being sold to insurance companies who want to know if I’m healthy or not and may
want to raise or lower my rates based on that. Is it being sold to marketers who want to
know if I’m overweight or underweight, or if I like fitness of a certain type? These
devices track intensely personal stuff, so you’ve got to know what you’re doing. I want
you to look at three different factors. Number one: the hardware. It’s different if
you have a Garmin or a Fitbit or an Apple Watch. They all have different policies on
how they share information. You need to know by device. Next, you need to take a look at the apps
that are collecting the data. Are you using the Fitbit app that comes along natively with
the Fitbit device? Because that is different than if you’re using an app all by itself
that you got on the App Store. You need to go through and read that privacy and data
policy for the specific app to see how they’re sharing your intimate information. Third, you need to consider not syncing that
device to an actual app. Just track it on the device. Then it never gets back into the
cloud and never gets back to those companies at all. It’s certainly not as functional,
but it is one option. Here’s your One Minute Mission. I want you
to Google the name of your device (“Fitbit”, for example) and enter the words “privacy
policy” or “security” and I want you to research what others are saying about it
in any current article. The reason is that these companies change their privacy and security
policies all the time. They start with really good privacy policies and then they migrate
to something less and less private. Listen, I love these devices. I love the fact
that they keep us fit and healthy. I love that they keep us competing with our friends
and family to have a healthy lifestyle, but you can’t operate them without knowing what
you’re doing, without knowing what information you’re giving away. Take a few minutes to
take these steps and then go out and get healthy and use these devices. For Sileo on Security,
I’ll see you on the next episode in our next city.

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