Many of us are trying new smart wearables all the time. But many of these devices don’t protect your privacy as they should. Let’s not forget that they can be used to easily track your every move. Symantec has found that many leading activity trackers are vulnerable to location tracking. Using scanning devices made with Raspberry Pi minicomputers, Symantec experts found out that tracking individuals was indeed possible:
Data collected by these devices generally has to be synced to another device or computer so that it can be viewed. For convenience, many manufacturers use Bluetooth Low Energy to allow the device to wirelessly sync data to a smartphone or computer. However, this convenience comes with a price; the device may be giving away information that can allow it to be tracked from one location to another… In our testing, we found that all the devices we encountered can be easily tracked using the unique hardware address that they transmit. Some devices (depending on configuration) may allow for remote querying, through which information such as the serial number or a combination of characteristics of the device can be discovered by a third party from a short distance away without making any physical contact with the device.
In other words, there is a lot more work to be done by wearable markers to protect consumers who are eager enough to try these tiny devices. Apps transmitting user credentials in clear text are a big problem. Many self-tracking apps and services simply don’t have privacy policies. If you are worried about your privacy, you should do your research and avoid just going with the first wearable or fitness tracker app you find online.