One step for Fitbit--info for the world wide web.
GADGETS to help you lose weight are being used by private companies to track you and could have terrible consequences in the future, experts have warned.
They claim companies’ unprecedented access to smartwatches and fitness band data could eventually bump up your insurance premium, affect your job and even lead to your identity being stolen.
A report by the Centre for Digital Democracy warned that all wearable gadgets posed serious privacy and security risks.
American manufacturers could be feeding information it collects from gadgets that monitor your heart rate, sleep pattern, calorie consumption and stress levels to private healthcare and insurance companies, it stated.
This information can make these companies mega-bucks in targeted advertising.
Even if a company has promised not to sell on your data — it’s at risk of a massive cyber hack as crooks eye it up to potentially sell on on the dark web for mind-boggling amounts.
The report stated: “Biosensors will routinely be able to capture not only an individual’s heart rate, body temperature, and movement, but also brain activity, moods, and emotions.
“These data can, in turn, be combined with personal information from other sources—including health-care providers and drug companies—raising such potential harms as discriminatory profiling, manipulative marketing, and security breaches.”
There are fears that personal information could get into the hands of personal healthcare insurance companies and your employers’ too, who may use the information to discriminate against you.
The report found that using the personal information "could enable profiling and discrimination—based on ethnicity, age, gender, medical condition, and other information—across a spectrum of fields, such as employment, education, insurance, finance, criminal justice, and social services, affecting not only individuals but also groups and society at large".
It added that: "The opportunities for data breaches will increase, with hackers accessing medical and health information at insurance companies, retail chains, and other businesses."
It comes as Samsung, Fitbit, Apple Watch and Thync’s fitness trackers top the Christmas 2016 gadget gift guides.
And most terrifyingly, plenty of them will be on the wrists of children – whose every move could be monitored.
Fitbit saids it gains a “deeper understanding” of users’ “health and fitness goals” and offers “thousands of third-party apps” with which a Fitbit customer can decide to share their information.
It sells “de-identified” data and will only sell identifiable data if it merges with another company.
Similarly, Apple promised to keep your health data private, and said it is encrypted and stored in the iCloud.
But we all remember #TheFappening.
It saw high profile celebrities' nude pictures leak onto the web after a hacker accessed their iCloud accounts.
Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Kate Upton's naked pictures were in the huge hack.
A Jawbone spokesperson said: "At Jawbone, we fully respect the privacy of our users and Jawbone adheres to the best industry standards when it comes to protecting data and personal information. We only share user data if the users asks us to - for example to integrate with a 3rd party app.
"We are custodians of the user’s data. We collect it, analyse it, and present it back to the user with meaning. The user may give us permission to share that data. They can download their data and take it somewhere else. And they can ask us to delete it (which we will do).
"We also facilitate users to request deletion of their data from any third party apps that may be connected to UP by Jawbone."
Samsung, Apple, Fitbit and Garmin have been contacted for comment.