For individuals looking to learn more about their fitness habits or everyday activity levels, a fitness tracker can be a great option. It’s especially useful for people whose fitness isn’t always measured by a treadmill or other tracking device.
Say you have a factory job and get your daily activity through walking around on the floor. Or perhaps you go jogging outside everyday. A wearable tracker quantifies this kind of physical activity, making it easier to set goals and become even more active.
To date, more than 20% of Americans report using a fitness tracker on a regular basis. More recent, high-tech fitness tracker models may offer useful data on your steps, sleep quality and heart rate. But they also potentially come with more security risks.
To try and mitigate those risks and keep your fitness tracker data private:
-Familiarize yourself with privacy notices associated with your device
-Check on privacy restrictions
-Look into any third-party apps
-Keep an eye on your own private information
Read the Privacy Notices
No one particularly likes reading privacy notices. More often than not, they’re dense and full of legalese that’s difficult to slog through. However, by pressing accept, you’re accepting whatever’s in the notice whether you actually read it or not.
In the case of fitness trackers, you’re dealing with information that’s as sensitive as constant location and activity information. So, you need to make sure you know what’s happening with that data by reading the privacy information associated with it.
In some cases, just skimming through a privacy notice should be enough to give you an idea of anything that you might need to worry about. If there’s a section about how the company takes payment, but you’re not purchasing anything for yourself, there’s no real need to read it in full. However, if there’s a section on how the company uses location information, you should probably take the time to read that.
Regularly Check Your Privacy Restrictions
Companies always update their privacy restrictions and requirements. Sometimes that’s for the better. But even changes made to better your experience may have the opposite impact if you don’t take the time to familiarize yourself with them. Don’t automatically opt in to privacy changes; research them first and then opt in.
If you’re planning on using any third-party apps, this is especially important. A company may change the way privacy restrictions work on a device, which may then have significant ramifications on how third-party developers may use your data. As companies need to make sure they’re always up-to-date with current legal requirements, you also need to make sure you know what those requirements mean for you.
Research Third-Party Apps
Some fitness devices, like the Apple Watch, allow third-party developers to offer apps on the device. These mobile apps go through various levels of screening, depending on the company allowing the app. But they aren’t necessarily officially endorsed by the company you bought the watch from. That means you have to take extra precautions.
Although looking at the reviews of an app can definitely help, it’s not the only thing you should be doing. Do some general searching about the developer of the app, and see whether that developer has had privacy issues in the past that may affect the way its apps use your data. With a little more information, you can make a truly informed decision about whether or not to use the app on your fitness tracker.
Keep an Eye on Your General Privacy Information
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a potential data leak is simply to make sure you know what’s going on with your personal privacy information. If you notice all of a sudden that some of your personal information is out there when it was previously safe, you’ll know there was probably some form of data breach, and you can go find it.
To try and keep an eye on your personal information, an online public records platform can be especially convenient. You can perform a people search on yourself, and then see what information about you is currently available.
Once you know what information about you is out there, it’s up to you to go to the data source to try and clean it up. After it’s all cleaned up, periodically perform another people search on yourself. If something significant changes, you’ll be the first to find out.
Paying attention to your personal fitness isn’t always easy. That’s a big reason why electronic fitness trackers have become so popular. From very simple calculations like how many steps you take every day to more complicated ones like your overall heart rate and body temperature, you can use a fitness tracker to pay attention to your physical health.
However, in the process of improving your physical health, you should also keep an eye on the health of your data security. To stay up-to-date on your digital security, read the PeopleFinders blog for more information.
Image attribution: Robert Kneschke – stock.adobe.com