Sen. Chuck Schumer Warns Fitness Trackers Threaten Privacy
Sen. Chuck Schumer called fitness trackers a "privacy nightmare," warning that companies can sell users' data to third parties without consent.
More and more people are using fitness tracking apps and bracelets to make sure they're getting enough exercise, but one lawmaker is calling the technology a threat to privacy.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer warns that fitness trackers can sell their users' data without informing them first.
Waving a Fitbit bracelet and standing in front of some joggers, Schumer said Sunday:
"These bracelets could also represent a true privacy nightmare."
Now, it's obvious fitness trackers collect user data. That's pretty much what they're for.
Wireless devices like the Fitbit Flex can track steps taken, distance traveled, calories burned and can even monitor sleep habits, allowing users to see hard data on their activity levels.
But in a statement, Schumer said, "There are currently no federal protections to prevent those developers from then selling that data to a third party without the wearer's consent."
Still, Schumer's point is that Fitbit could sell that data if it wanted to. We know other activity-monitoring apps do sell sensitive information about their users.
Earlier this year, the FTC released a report studying 12 mobile and fitness apps that sold data like location, activity level, names and email addresses and even searches for medical symptoms.
And it's not just fitness apps. The agency also recently settled a complaint against GoldenShores Technologies for secretly selling user data. The company's Brightest Flashlight app tracks location data for some reason.
Schumer is asking the FTC to require all mobile apps to give users the ability to opt out of having their data shared, kind of like his efforts last year to set up SmartStorePrivacy.org, a website letting users opt out of having their cell phones tracked in stores and airports.
A furry friend has the best chance of saving lives in avalanches
Avalanche dogs can search acres of terrain in a fraction of the time humans can. Frank, a black lab in Snowbird, Utah, shows us how.
Study: Black Americans adjust their behavior in health care settings
The study found one in four Black patients avoid health care settings for fears they will be treated unfairly.
Report finds 37% 'spike' in child poisoning deaths
Federal officials are highlighting a report during National Poison Prevention Week that showed an increase in child poisoning deaths.
Why does today's audience say certain fictional characters are gay?
In this segment of "Pop Quiz," Scripps News explores how historians and viewers are speculating about queer subtext in new and old media.
Los Angeles school support staff at an impasse in higher pay talks
Cafeteria workers, bus drivers and other school support staff employees say the district isn't meeting their requests.
This basketball magazine is mixing art with 'outlandish' sport stories
Flagrant Magazine is carving out its own space in the sports media industry by mixing abstract basketball art with culture stories from off the court.