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Activity Trackers and Your Privacy

Jackie here. Do you use an activity tracker? These wristbands can make it easy to stick to your fitness goals, but does this convenience come at a price? Some privacy experts worry that fitness trackers could be used to gather and sell personal information. If you’re interested in using a fitness tracker, make sure you know what you’re sharing so you can make an informed decision. Here’s what you need to know about fitness trackers and personal privacy.
Read Privacy Policies– FitBit, one of the big names in fitness and activity tracking, has a privacy policy that prohibits any information sharing or selling. Many of the other fitness trackers may have similar provisions. When considering a device, read the privacy policy carefully. Find out how they’ll use your information and how they’ll store it. Remember, policies can change so you should review privacy policies often to stay apprised of any changes. To find the privacy policy for your device, head to their website or do a search with the device name and the words “privacy policy”.
No Regulations– While there are regulations regarding privacy on health apps, the same does not apply to fitness apps. These apps are use at your own risk and the privacy policies involved can vary greatly from company to company. Do your research and be aware that privacy policies are determined by the company, not by federal regulation.
Your Data is Valuable– You might think that no one else cares about your fitness activities, but this is not true. Your information is very valuable to advertisers, health insurance companies, and even employers. Don’t underestimate the value of your data.
Send Data Securely– If you do use a fitness tracker, send your data to the company securely. Unsecured networks (public Wi-Fi) can be easily compromised.
Last year we shared some information about health and fitness apps and privacy from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse’s special report. Much of the information we shared then, applies here too. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, make sure you do.
Do you use a fitness or activity tracker?

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