Fitness Trackers: Who’s Tracking Who?

Everywhere you go, you see people wearing those fitness trackers on their wrists. Whether they’re wearing office attire or gym clothes, these devices have become extremely popular, and for good reason. They’re excellent tools when it comes to keeping an eye on your fitness. There are now a number of different manufacturers that are making different variations of the same thing, in order to keep up with the demands in the market.

However, Canadian researchers have recently discovered that many of these devices are doing more than just tracking your fitness. Holes in their security are letting others track you. Really. The researchers looked at products from eight manufacturers, and all, except for the Apple Watch, transmitted a unique Bluetooth identifier that allowed them to be tracked. This was the case even when they weren’t paired with or connected to a smartphone.

The Bluetooth signal being emanated by these devices is easily found by the beacons which are being used more and more by places such as retail stores who want to profile their customers. The difference between the Apple Watch and the units from other manufacturers was that only the Apple product used a feature that’s built into the Bluetooth LE standard which creates changing MAC addresses, which prevents tracking from being possible.

Clearly this is probably not what was planned when fitness trackers were first becoming popular, but it is a concern that needs to be addressed by the majority of the industry.
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