You walked half a mile and your fitness app calculated every calorie you burned and counted kilometers you ran. Isn’t it smart? Surely it is but have you noticed that a fitness app tracks down your location and activity that you have been doing throughout the day?
A fitness app not only knows a user’s location, but also whether he or she got there on foot, bike or bus. In spite of having numerous benefits of using a fitness app, the users run the privacy risk by inadvertently leaking the details of his or her whereabouts. Such information if finds its way into the hands of prospective employers, insurers, or mortgage lenders can put you to risk as it could be used to discriminate you based on intimate information.
The Facebook recently acquired fitness and activity tracking app, “Moves” for iPhone and Android mobile device. It is used to track the distance covered by the user in a day, however this app can tell a user’s location and other related information, all with the help of motion sensors and GPS information.
As per the reports the companies like Apple and Google too are working on sensor technology to develop the devices like iWatch (Apple), Google Glass, and other wearable technology that can easily locates a person’s position. Google is also working on Contact lenses, which can be used to read tears to find out the glucose levels of diabetic patients. It too contains some personal information of the person using it however Google confirms to Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at Center for Democracy & Technology that data collected by the contacts would be kept secured.
The problem with the fitness app is that no one really knows who’s keeping an eye on the data collected by fitness apps. The traditional medical watchdogs like Food and Drug Administration and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability don’t keep any information of the fitness app as it doesn’t qualify as medical devices.
The FDA along with FTC is responsible for regulating health-related apps but it still needs to figure out whether it can punish companies if they break their promises made to customers.