How your fitness tracker could be used against you

Think about the things you do on a daily basis. You might go to work, come home and go for a run. You might run the same route every day, or maybe you vary your routes a few times a week. Now, look down at your friendly fitness tracking piece of technology. It goes everywhere with you. It also transmits data about your location and your health to its main servers.

These pieces of technology tend to track your location, your routes, your heart rate and your general fitness levels.

In the wrong hands, it tells people when you usually leave your home, which way you walk/drive to work and how long it takes you. It then tells people how fit you are and the routes you usually take on your evening run.

These pieces of information aren’t always guarded properly. See, to some Tech company owner in Silicon Valley, it isn’t that useful. To hackers and criminals though, it tells them when you are at your most vulnerable, when your house is unoccupied and how long you are usually away for.

How likely are criminals to access this information and use it? Not that likely right now. Disable the location settings on your apps when you aren’t using them and ensure you always read the privacy statements when signing up for new services and you should be quite safe.

After all, the Silicon Valley big-wigs only want to sell off your information to advertising companies so they can target you based on things you might actually buy.

However, these types of fitness tracking technology have caused issues for those in the special forces. They have given out information about patrol routes, the jobs of the people wearing them and the number of people present on that site at any one time.

Army bases can be identified by remote areas with large amounts of activity. Typically, certain individuals will repeat the same walking route over and over again (patrol).

This information may not be of much use to you and me, but to foreign forces this is gold. They can see who is based where and individuals visiting these bases are also likely to be army personnel. These people can then be tracked during their tactical operations, leaving them vulnerable.

So, let’s look at this again. If hackers and criminals aren’t that likely to access the information from fitness trackers, who else would benefit from seeing the locations of users? Who could demand that these companies’ hand-over this information?

The Government.

You were wearing your fitness tracker in the same place a crime was committed, at the very least you should expect to be questioned. Again, we are left with questions about our privacy and about how our information is actually being used.

These trackers could actually be used as electronic tags, monitoring your every move and ensuring you are where you are supposed to be at all times. It’s a scary thought.

Obviously, like most technology, they do have lots of positive uses. They are great for those actually wanting to get fit. We just need to hope we don’t end up living in a world where they are harnessed for evil.

(If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to read the terms of service on your apps!)