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So make sure your fitness trackers are safe



It is safe to say that few technologies have changed personal fitness more than portable fitness trackers. These devices collect data to provide detailed tracking of many different training parameters for coaching, analysis, logging and other purposes. But with all these data, how can you be sure that your privacy does not fly out the window?

What data is collected?

The first key to backing up data from a tracking device is understanding the exact contents of that data. The capabilities of wrist-worn trackers vary widely, from simply counting steps and measuring baseline activity to tracking advanced performance data such as VO2 max (maximum oxygen uptake) and time spent in certain heart rate zones.

More performance parameters require more sensors, and more sensors generate more data. This means that more confidential information needs to be protected. While your heart rate may not be much for someone who could see them without identifying information, a wearable tracking your routes can provide stalkers or attackers with information of great interest. Other data, such as the menstrual cycle tracking offered on some devices, can result in significant privacy breaches.

Next, you need to know where the data tracked by your tracker is stored. In older, very simple devices, such as pedometer or heart rate monitor, it remains easy on Wearable. In this case, security is easy: you need to know where your tracker is located.

You are more likely to use a fitness band or smartwatch. In that case, you are likely to connect to an external app to track, share, analyze, and / or coach activities. This means that your data is no longer in your hands and the word "trust" becomes very important.

If confidence is not enough, you can use a fitness tracker to take various steps to protect yourself.

Read the user agreement.

When you sign up for any of these services, whether provided by the manufacturer of the device or by a third party, you will see a user agreement. Before you sign any of these documents, you should read it. You will learn all sorts of interesting things, such as how much data the company collects from your wearable (and possibly your phone), what it can do with that data, how long it can retain the information, and whether you can retrieve it , (It also can not hurt to see if there is an arbitration clause that you may wish to deregister from.)


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