Are personal fitness trackers now a privacy threat?

Posted at 2:07 PM, Aug 11, 2014

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."

Fitbit responded to the senator's comments by saying it's not part of the problem: "Fitbit does not sell user data. Our privacy policy prevents us from doing this."

To find out more about what information fitness tracker developers could sell and what Sen. Schumer is asking the FTC to do about it, watch this Newsy video.