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Fitness tracking devices may be sharing private information

Posted at 7:28 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 13:42:07-05

HALES CORNERS -- You may be wishing for a smart watch for Christmas.

Millions of people wear fitness devices to track their sleep, heart rate, blood pressure and more.

Employers are using wellness incentives such as extra cash for workers who pair their fitness trackers to their health systems.

Andrew Boyd, associate professor of biomedical and health information warns that your information could be scrutinized.

"Your heart rate data sounds innocuous, but it's actually quite revealing," said Boyd.

He urges you to question how your insurance company uses or shares that information.

"How do we prevent future insurance companies, future health companies or future employers from using it to discriminate against you?" said Boyd.

Personal trainer Lex Jaramillo, owner of Motifaith Fitness, showed us the fitness trackers he straps to all of his Hales Corners clients. He says it holds them accountable, and feels the same about companies keeping that information private.

"It's something we have to take seriously," said Jaramillo.

We reached out to Apple and Fitbit about this report.

A spokesman for Fitbit sent us this statement:

“Fitbit is committed to protecting consumer privacy and putting users in control of their personal data. We never sell customer personal data, and we do not share customer personal information except in the limited circumstances described in our privacy policy.

For example:

At users’ requests, like when users choose to share their data with other apps to help them stay on track, or share stats and information with their friends and family in the Fitbit community, this may include users who request we share their Fitbit data with a health insurer or wellness program. Users can choose to stop sharing their data at any time.

To vendors who help us provide our product and services - for example, we share data on a confidential basis with our third-party customer support and information technology service providers.

In response to valid legal process:
Fitbit believes that corporate wellness programs should always be inclusive, voluntary and should protect the privacy of the people they are aimed to serve. We take a proactive approach to talking about data privacy with our wellness customers by providing best practices including the Fitbit Corporate Wellness Pledge that articulates our standards for corporate wellness programs.”