This page serves as an introduction to Open Effect’s Comparative Analysis of Fitness Tracker Privacy and Security study. The study is funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and is taking place currently until March 2016.
Fitness tracking devices collect highly-sensitive personal and biometric data, including one’s walking gait, geolocational information, blood glucose levels, and heartbeat patterns. This project will examine the relationship between the data collection and transmission practices of fitness tracking devices, the cloud services they integrate with, and how third parties may obtain access to this information. The researchers will analyze the privacy policies for each device studied using a framework that seeks to identify commitments to user control, security, use limitations, and third-party disclosures. The researchers will perform a detailed technical analysis of how these devices store personal data, how and to whom they transmit data, and the rigour of the mechanisms employed to secure these processes. They will assess various fitness tracker companies’ responsiveness to access to information requests. The project will result in an online “device guide” that will make it simple for individuals to compare various fitness trackers and file personal information requests with their fitness tracking device companies.
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