Why Owning Your Data Means You’ll Never Have An Apple Watch

Why Owning Your Data Means You’ll Never Have An Apple Watch

I want you to take a quick look at your phone. Scroll through all the apps you have. How many of them are free? Most of them, you’ll say, and if business models are not your topic of interest, you probably won’t give it much thought. Why would it be any of your concern how a company makes money?

If You’re Not Paying For It – You Are The Product

It actually concerns you more than you think. If an app or a service is free, this means that the product they are selling is most likely – you. I’m talking about your data, of course. And there are tons of it coming from your pocket or your purse, just think about it.

First you have your social networks, where you yourself knowingly (even if you don’t really think about it) provide tons of data, then there are the fitness apps that show you where you’ve been and how much calories you’ve burned, just about every app has a geolocation option, the amount of information your phone knows about you are virtually limitless – how much you sleep, what you eat, what you buy (or consider buying), what you like, when you’re most likely to conceive, everything from the very basic information to the incredibly personal things that maybe even your partner doesn’t know about.

Wear At Your Own Risk

Now lets take that a step further, from your pocket to your wrist – or neck, or just whatever part of your body where you put your beautiful wearable tech. This little beautifully designed gadget of yours silently tracks your life, gather info that was once only available to your doctor, and even let you share it on the social networks with the whole world.

And there are even more wearables to come -the wearable tech market is just gaining momentum. There are estimates that the number of wearables will reach 485 million units by 2018.

We’re knees deep in the “quantified self” trend, and we love it, so we let it slide that the quantifiers that put our lifestyle, behavior and performance in a digital profile of us, are not meant for our eyes only.

Wearable tech devices typically connect to the Internet through Bluetooth synchronization to sync with apps on your other mobile devices, which is neccessary for your smart watch to have any use at all (save for telling the time). Of those, 20 percent of apps expose login credentials through non-encrypted text, according to a Semantec Security research, so you could also be sharing the passwords to all of your important information.

Even the devices that have no obvious tracking mechanism can be tracked by location in public spaces and more than half of the apps from the said study had no privacy policies.

Still Want One? Me Too.

All this said, you still kind of want a smart watch or some other kind of wearable, right? So do I. So what can you do to protect your privacy?

  • Use unique passwords for your self-tracking app or a password generator
  • Check the privacy policies for every app you download, and avoid those that have none
  • Install app and operating system updates when available, because they contain solutions for new security threats
  • Above all, share your information wisely and always keep in mind what you’re sharing.

Author:

Tena Šojer

Tena graduated from University of Zagreb with a masters degree in English and Anthropology. Her interests are writing, science, technology and education, and her goal in life is to find a way to pursue them all at the same time. She is currently writing for Netokracija, working with a great team to bring the best internet and tech related news to the Balkans.

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