Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Activity Tracker vs Privacy?!

After a few weeks of reviewing Activity Trackers, I almost bought a Garmin Vivoxxxxxx HR this past week .. I was soooo close. There are a lot of potential benefits for me:
  • access to my heart rate 24 hrs a day
  • notification if I'm sitting to long with out moving (new role at work involves more sitting)
  • builtin GPS
  • sleep monitoring and information
  • smart features to communicate with my phone (calls, messages, etc)
And then the cons ... came down to just one really (other than it being a little too square looking) .. PRIVACY: I don't trust companies to do the right thing with all the data that they're collecting. So, for example, worst case example, this activity tracker that I almost bought, had I enabled the features would know / learn:
  • where I am 24 hrs a day: work, sleep, routes to and from work, where and when meals are eaten, places-times-locations I exercise
  • access to my phones information: ability to upload all collected data (known and private) to the web, depending on permissions on phone app (ability to capture audio, photos and video)
I guess I'm just informed enough to not want the details of my life to be analyzed and processed by someone else for unknown reasons.

Another example of very cool technology that will never intentionally be allowed in my home - devices like the Amazon Echo. The thought of inviting a device into my home to listen to everything said .. and to think that it's ignoring everything that isn't addressed to it? No way! It's bad enough that they may be present places with out you even knowing it. Everything spoken is captured and uploaded to be processed:
  • to better help the language processing and understanding of the device
  • recognize different people by their speech patterns and vocabulary
  • even their own add says "Always getting smarter and adding new features.."
  • ... and on and on are the valid and not so valid reasons
Homes, offices and even schools all over the World are now uploading a digital copy of all things spoken at that location to the web in the possession of someone else. I enjoy coming home and relaxing; not having to worry about being photographed or recorded. 

I have allowed my Nest to have access on my WiFi - due to the convenience of remote access. But, even that, makes me a little uncomfortable.

So, for now, I continue to use an older version of Android with applications that I've checked the permissions for before installing; no games that need access to my contacts or camera or ...

The modern Activity Trackers have a lot to offer, but the risk of where and how all that data is used .. is just to much risk for me to accept.

Call me "Old-School"!

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