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Track your run...Track your sleep... also track what happens to YOUR data


I bought my first wearable fitness tracker not just out of sheer curiosity but also to track my "Fitness Regime", this little over a year ago and fitness trackers were all the rage. Before you pigeon hole me and call me a fitness addict who keeps track of calories consumed, calories burnt or miles covered, Let me assure I am far from one. I stay fit by, hosing down muck, endlessly wrenching away and fueling my borderline OCD with inane activities.

The Mi fit band is a neat little device which syncs to a phone app via bluetooth, although I’m not fully convinced about the accuracy of the device, it does its job and gives you a decent approximation of distance covered by foot, buzzes when you receive messages, it tracks your sleep patterns as well. All this data is stored obviously on cloud. I say obvious because it’s almost uncool not to have anything and everything on cloud these days.

I'm happy - the device is fine and dandy, but I’m skeptical about having all my data on cloud, WHAT IF someone well versed in the dark arts of cutting through layers of security and encryption start wondering why I wake up quite often at 2 AM or the fact that I stop mid run at the 3 KM mark for exactly 30 seconds or notice a pattern in the number of calls and messages I receive every day. I know it’s a stretch but Murphy’s Law says it can and will definitely happen.

There have also been instances of health/fitness data being bought and sold. Health Apps and fitness trackers have arrived on the scene recently but there is a lot of evidence of health data being sold to data brokers, marketing companies and even insurers. I'm waiting for the day a google banner advertisement about sleeping pills pops up on my web browser.

Privacy concerns aside, Apps that sync data on cloud should allow users to decide if they want it on the cloud or stored locally on the device, where the user has more control over it.

We’ve maybe reached a stage where less is considered more and having data just on the device is too much to ask | tsk tsk |.

I may not lose sleep over having my fitness data stored at a server farm in China or an island off the coast of Africa but surely users should be allowed to choose where their data is stored and what the company chooses to do with it in the guise of improving UX and other such hoodwinkery

Aditya Jayaram

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