Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Some users say they're getting rid of Fitbit because they don't trust Google (cnbc.com)
468 points by Classicaldj34 69 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 235 comments



Classic example of an article in search of a movement.

Take a handful of tweets that share an opinion and write an article that makes it seem like there's a mass exodus.

It's ok, you don't need anything more than a handful of tweets to back your claim.

Yes, some people are privacy conscious and are going to stop using Fitbit but how many are actually doing it? A lot? A few?

Who knows. I'm sure author has no clue but that won't stop them from writing this empty article.


I don’t know about anyone else, but I just got rid of my Fitbit and never spoke of it on social media. My guess is it’s limited a few thousand to low tens of thousands of people which is not economically meaningful on it’s own. But, it does show another side of the privacy debate.

Many companies are selling data not because it’s significant revenue, but rather because they have no reason to leave money on the table. This kind of small scale boycott may actually be meaningful for those internal decisions, which IMO is interesting.


I'm sure the number is fairly insignificant, especially for a company as big as Google. As for myself, I requested that all my data be deleted when I first heard rumours about the buyout, and I haven't used my Fitbit since.


were you actively using it up until the announcement?


I've been using it on and off since I got it a few years ago. I'll use it for a few months, then leave it for another few months. The last time I used it was from the beginning of this year 'til August. Stopped using it after that. This basically means I won't use it ever again in the future.


I also deleted.


We are not representative of the general population, so our anecdotes are almost worthless.


Your anecdotes may be relatively worthless to a company as large as Google, but they may yet be quite valuable to an individual reading your words. Don't be afraid to share your thoughts; sometimes these smaller, more human interactions can make all the difference.


Representative is not as important as if they influence others to act as well.


See also: the 90-9-1 rule, aka the 1% Rule

"In Internet culture, the 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only 1% of the users of a website actively create new content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk. Variants include the 1–9–90 rule (sometimes 90–9–1 principle or the 89:10:1 ratio),[1] which states that in a collaborative website such as a wiki, 90% of the participants of a community only view content, 9% of the participants edit content, and 1% of the participants actively create new content."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1%25_rule_(Internet_culture)

Point is, there may be a lot of eyes that see that post and are influenced by it, but make no posts or generate no discussion of their own.


I'd wager the whole 'google has all your health records' scare right now increases the number a bit right now.


> I don’t know about anyone else, but I just got rid of my Fitbit and never spoke of it on social media.

I only know two people who use Fitbits, and both of them have ditched them.

I agree that the number of people doing this is likely small, but such people certainly do exist, and they aren't incredibly rare.


The population who ditches them might also be skewed towards developers, which might mean that less people are hacking on the Fitbit SDK which could hurt their ecosystem. Apple has tried to court developers for this reason. Losing a piece of that market might be more hurtful to a company than losing a similar absolute number of the general population.


I didn't even know there was a fitBit sdk.


My mother had a fitbit and has gotten rid of it. She didn't mention it on social media because she dislikes social media companies and chooses to avoid them, which seems related to her decision to avoid Google-owned fitbit.

So there is a selection bias in play. Many of the people who dislike google enough to get rid of their fitbit quite possibly also dislike social media and won't be reflected in statistics gleaned from social media.


I got rid of mine too and only mentioned it to my Wife. I had no idea anyone else would have been thinking the same thing!


I deleted my account and stopped using mine - and told no one


My wife got rid of her spare Fitbit bands and plans to not use the Fitbit, and to replace our scale without mentioning it on social media.


I got rid of mine, too. Surprised to see so many others here did.


I have never felt harmed or threatened by the idea that my anonymized data (health or otherwise) is being used by large organizations... assuming it is anonymized.

As far as I can see, there are many good uses of this data (some potentially profitable, such as selling to health insurance companies so they can better price their products and evaluate risks) and very few bad uses of this data.

Can someone please clarify for me exactly what the potential harm is here... using evidence and reason instead of conjecture and belief? Because until then, this all smells an awful lot like a conspiracy theory https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFalla...

Here's an example: Google has had our data for literally decades now. What is the measurable, significant harm that has resulted? And if there is nothing, what catastrophes are yet possible where a single or group of rogue bad actors profit off the suffering of many and get away with it?

Please explain to me my naiveté here.


Because it is -never - going to be anonymized. They are going to call it anonymized, and then publicly apologize for it not being so a couple of times, while keeping business as usual. There is just no incentive for them to anonymize it.


More to the point, I'm not even sure that, in principle, it is possible to truly anonymize this data without spoiling the data science easter egg hunt. And the easter egg hunt is arguably the entire point of this kind of data collection.

You can do something like k-anonymizing the data and then destroying the original, personally identifiable data. But k-anonymity has its limits, too.

Every other strategy I know of assumes that it's OK to keep a private copy of the original data, which works well if we're talking about scenario such as a source that needs to keep the raw data (like a health care provider) providing the data with a semi-trustworthy external party such as a health researcher. But it doesn't address what I'm guessing is the main concern here, which is that, even if you accept for the sake of argument that Google currently has no intention to do gross things with the data, they can't make any promises that will hold indefinitely. It's a long-lived organization that whose policies might change with any change in leadership, market, or even political conditions, so any promises they might make are simply meaningless in the long run. As they would be with any organization, regardless of the presence or absence of any present-day warm fuzzy feelings.


Basically the data, to be useful, has to be capable of uncovering correlations with all sorts of demographics. Those clues can de-anonymize it. If we take your name out of a data frame (so that we can call it "anonymous") but leave all sorts of other properties (those being the payload useful to data science), you may be nevertheless identifiable from that combination of properties, together with other info known about you from other tracking sources.


Every organization and project I've worked for, for companies much smaller than Google, has done its best to comply with eliminating PII.

https://www.gsa.gov/reference/gsa-privacy-program/rules-and-...


Yeah, I totally believe it can be anonymized, but when they attach geo data, age data, etc you can be picked out of the crowd with just a bit of analysis. Plus I don't think most of them actually anonymize it. They just say they do. There's no one auditing them until a court order happens.


Just because YOU haven't felt harmed or threatened doesn't mean that others feel that way. I generally agree with you but with some caveats. For example, users should have the ability to opt-in/out of data collection. Additionally there are some actors I would choose NOT to share this data with. Google is one of them.


There's a difference between actually harm and perceived harm. Lots of people feel harmed and threatened by vaccines. I'm not saying you shouldn't have privacy but I claiming you "feel harmed and threatened" isn't really an answer to "what's the harm"


Yeah, I don't understand this either. "I feel I was harmed." OK, where's your empirical reasoning to come to this conclusion?


> assuming it is anonymized.

In the age of Big Data, there's only one way for data to be anonymized -- it needs to be aggregated with all the other data, and the original individual data records need to be deleted.


And sadly that's never going to happen because those individual data records are valuable.


If you research this via sprinkling of curiosity allocated time over the course of a year..you will not care. Because it isn't about what has already gone wrong. It isn't even about harm or risk. In the outside its about this information is me. It is mine. It is easy to disregard my dignity) autonomy/my precious private personal traits, preferences etc.

This, to me anyway, is lifeblood American identity stuff.

You might say "well congrats on your private liberty but youre sharing it right here for all companies to scoop up". But that's exactly that problem.


But look at how Google approaches this topic (were you even aware they had this data?) compared to Apple who advertises very clearly that they will use it in studies, etc. It's not only what you do but how you do it also. Transparency can go a long way.


Because this data exists, people will rely on it being accurate.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/03/us/fitbit-murder-arrest.h...


> Please explain to me my naiveté here.

There is nearly zero incentive to actually your anonymize data, and anonymization doesn't make you anonymous.

This is a lesson we should have learned more than a decade ago[1], when AOL released their anonymized search data for research purposes, and thousands of people were trivially identified using it.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL_search_data_leak


And they were sued due to violating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

So, not really "nearly zero incentive" IMHO.


They were sued because the public had access to the data and saw what was in it.

If companies share data between parties who want to profit from said data, nobody is going to run to their state's Attorney General over it.


> I have never felt harmed or threatened by the idea that my anonymized data (health or otherwise) is being used

How anonymised is it again?


Because anonymous percentages can be interpreted as the likelihood that you yourself are those things, like a sort of quantum mechanical cat paradox. I believe it's also how our "collective consciousness" and language kind of works (you're outputting what you hope they'll be inputting based on what people typically will input). Basically, if anonymous stats show 99.9999% of people watch child porn, I can now accuse you beyond a reasonable doubt (roughly) of watching child porn. Or like if it become known that 80% of people were trans, I might stop going on Tinder. While I don't know _you_, given a bunch of data, I know "people like you", "your people", or whatever other phrase that half of people find offensive and the other half find accurate. Black people be black, almost by definition. Jews are Jews. I'm now seen as a racist white male KKK incel Trump supporting basement dwelling... Wait, we're getting off topic. The point is, society retardation aside, data will only ever be used to judge you to the best of its ability, and rarely in a way that will let you bang more hot women, but more frequently in a way that raises the prices of what you want or need or places you in jail. Cops will park where people "tend" to speed. They didn't know _you_ would be speeding, but ... they did. You are betrayed by your peers to evil forces.

If the people were given anonymous data that showed that 100% of the 2008 bankers were going on a cruise departing tomorrow, we could easily fix things. Well, that's what _they're_ doing to us.



You actually forgot my favorite one on this topic:

https://www.martinfowler.com/articles/bothersome-privacy.htm...

You're arguing something different. I'm arguing that a sufficiently anonymized version of my data is not demonstrably harmful. You're arguing that privacy in general is important, which I would not dispute.


[flagged]


He‘s being downvoted because he‘s insinuating that all those people deleting their data are not using reason and are just peddling conspiracy theories.

Without that part he wouldn‘t have been downvoted nearly as much.


I didn't say they weren't using reason and peddling conspiracy theories.

I said that without someone explaining to me some good reason, it looked like those things. Which, you have to admit, are far and away the most common reasons people give for how they act these days. Oh sure, they insist they know The Truth, but it is often based on this or that fallacious reasoning or evidence.


and screw him for asking a question!


Yes, some people are privacy conscious and are going to stop using Fitbit but how many are actually doing it? A lot? A few?

There's nothing wrong with reporting that a small number of people are publicly announcing that they're binning their Fitbit devices. They are, and they weren't before, so that's news. Are you suggesting there should be threshold an event should have to pass before it becomes newsworthy? Who would decide what that threshold is?


Yes, there should be a threshold. Otherwise the newspaper is gonna be full of articles which are not interesting at all to the general population.


There should be editorial judgement about whether or not something is worth publishing. That is not, and shouldn't be, a quantitative threshold.


That editorial judgement is exactly why most articles with no actual content are published in the first place - "We need to beef up this headline so it reaches more people"

Correct headline would have been "A handful of Fitbit users are..." but it wouldn't get clicks. The editors are to blame most of the time for doing a disservice to their readers.


That's essentially what the article title ("some fitbit users") said before OP truncated it.

Credit https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21573658


So given that in most cases only the company has access to numbers and any multi-product company can choose not to reveal break down statistics.. I guess it's only positive pieces from now on?

Google is free to release positive spin articles and try to provide numbers to fit that. I don't think they will hesitate to provide more stats than we otherwise would have seen unless it is so grim that they have no way to frame it.


An editorial judgement however absolutely should take quantities into account.

What were discussing here is whether the editor's judgement was poor and not whether there is some magical, exact "this is newsworthy" criterion.


There already is. In tech reporting, the criterion whether it can be fit into the pre-existing narrative of Big Tech being evil. There are similar numbers of people thanking Google for new features every day, but you won't hear about that.


> narrative of Big Tech being evil.

Big Tech could stop that narrative by ceasing to do awful things.


> There's nothing wrong with reporting that a small number of people are publicly announcing that they're binning their Fitbit devices.

This specific incident is surely rather harmless, but I wonder if the same can be said about this type of thing.

>> ...but how many are actually doing it? A lot? A few? Who knows. I'm sure <X> has no clue but that won't stop them from writing <Y>.

I feel like it would be improvement if individuals and overall society (especially thoughts leaders) considered the potential importance of this general idea. I have a speculative armchair theory that the incredible changes in the amount and style of information (news, memes, forum discussions) people consume due to the introduction of the internet and 24 hour cable news is doing something to humans on a deep psychological basis, that it may be significantly altering our heuristics in a historically abnormal way, resulting in a large amount of incorrect perceptions and negative behaviors.

Is this really happening, might there be some truth to this, could some people be truly affected by this? A lot? A few? Who knows. But if it is happening, to a degree that is non-negligible, and nobody notices, how damaging might the effects be? Could this, say, affect how people treat others on a daily basis? Might it play a role in how they vote in elections, or make personal decisions on various public policy matters? To me, these seem like questions worth considering.


A threshold is a good thing, because if you can be entirely selective in your reporting, then you can convince people of any narrative you want. This is the Chinese robber fallacy [0].

0: https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/09/16/cardiologists-and-chin...


Got rid of mine too after using Fitbit devices since 2011. And I'm an ex-googler and a former Amazon employee. I don't want to supply extraneous information to Amazon, Google, or Facebook. No good would come of that.

And I will add that in the last year of owning a Fitbit ionic I wasn't syncing anyway because there was some sort of bug that would randomly subtract 100 or so calories every hour or so. Fitbit continued to deny the bug existed and it was never fixed.


A better question is how many people do you think trust Google and is that number growing?

Google feels like a spouse who cheated on you. You don’t trust them but you haven’t found a better option yet. I can’t imagine that helps them competitively in the long run.


> Google feels like a spouse who cheated on you. You don’t trust them but you haven’t found a better option yet.

This is a great analogy! It's crazy how much my opinion of Google has changed in the past decade or so. Judging by comments on HackerNews and elsewhere, many others feel the same.

I also feel similarly about Amazon. I enjoy using it less and less, but it's been hard to completely drop.


Why do you feel similarly about Amazon?


I search on Bing.

I still have a Google account (in fact several) but I hardly ever log in. I use it when I have to for work, but if I have any choice I use Microsoft Office instead of Google docs. Mainly I use JIRA, Slack, and tools from other vendors.

I use Fastmail and EM Client for my personal mail. You get what you (do or don't) pay for.

I have a Fitbit Alta HR, mainly because it is smaller than a conventional watch. I am not going to get rid of it, but I am certainly not going to replace it with a Google product. I probably won't be able to anyway since Google will probably kill it in a fit of mindlessness soon.


Take a look at Garmin watches. I replaced my fitbit with a Garmin as soon as I found out about the buyout and I couldn't be happier. It's much more capable than the Fitbit was and Garmin has an actual privacy policy instead of a ways in which we sell your data policy.


Fitbit also has a privacy policy, as does Google. It’s not actually the practice to sell your data. It’s much more valuable for them to hold onto it and sell products that use your data.


The concern is that Fitbit was a product company. (Garmin is a product company. Apple is a product company. Etc.) Google has never seen themselves as a product company. They make a few products, certainly, but they're an ad company first and foremost to their shareholders, and a service company if anything else past that. Products are very low on the Google totem pole in terms of revenue or more critically ideals in how the company sees itself, and sells itself to its own investors.

(To add to the pile of anecdotes, I haven't yet stopped using my Fitbit because of the modern American dystopian need to appease the "Wellness company" that influences my Health Insurance pool and costs. But it's been heavily on my mind since the Google purchase and I will probably switch to something else whenever I free up enough gadget budget.)


> It’s much more valuable for them to hold onto it and sell products that use your data.

I think that when most people say tech firms "sell your data", they include this in the definition.


Similarly: even if a nontrivial number of people are dumping wearable trackers, is there evidence that it's disproportionately happening now or to Fitbit because of Google?

My first guess would be "as data breaches and abuses hit the news, people are more skeptical of wearable trackers in general". I've heard several people talk about getting hit by the MyFitnessPal security breach or Strava revealing army bases; it seems entirely possible that if there's a trend in these anecdotes it's not brand-specific.

Even if Fitbit is being hit especially hard, my first guess would be that it's as much about buggy connectivity and battery issues as anything else. Even if it's not a conscious evaluation, people do sacrifice privacy based on the actual value they're getting, and Fitbit has been a bit infamous for quality issues recently. (And is that a trend or just bored writers turning an example into a narrative? No idea, but it still affects Fitbit's perception.)

There are two whole schools of vacuous articles like this: either pick anecdotes and push them as a trend, or pick a broad statistical trend and narrow the focus to a group/brand which supports a narrative.


There's also the option of open source fitness tracker apps that don't upload your data anywhere, i.e. Gadgetbridge which I use.


Thank you for mentioning Gadgetbridge [1]! Interestingly enough, i find people mentioning Gadgetbridge under very many recent smart band/watch/gadget related articles here on NH.

Gb is under constant development - improvements and new devices are being added all the time, thanks to the main developer who is really good with the deep BLE stuff. The app provides a great value in notifications (and their filters), steps/sleep/activity collecting and visualizing, button actions and more. We are looking for help, however, with some of the obvious things like nicer activities listing, simpler imports of data exported from other services etc, so feel free to stop by the Matrix chat or on Codeberg/Github.

[1] https://blog.freeyourgadget.org/


I'd never heard of Gadgetbridge, but "local storage" would certainly be my requirement. It's the same issue as smart-home devices (without voice control): from a user viewpoint there's absolutely no benefit to having them phone home.


>but "local storage" would certainly be my requirement.

[x] Check :)

Gadgetbridge intentionally does not have network permissions. There is a manual and periodical data export allowing you to push your data for further storage, processing, visualizing etc.


GadgetBridge main website:

https://gadgetbridge.org

Looks interesting, hadn't come across it before.


The original title actually has “Some Fitbit users ...” instead of the much broader “Fitbit users ...” HN shows, which is less click-baity.


I stopped using my Fitbit the day they were acquired. Didn't feel the need to tweet or exclaim about it. You may be surprised at the total number.


I did the same for my Nest cams -- don't have a twitter account so maybe I don't count?


Like YouTube tells you when you accidentally hit the like-button: "Sign in to make your opinion count."


I enjoyed my time working at Amazon but this method of gathering "feedback" on a recent product launch was one of the most popular and I wasn't a huge fan.

I know there was more to it than this but anytime there was a meeting where execs or product owners wanted to flex they would just grab a bunch of fanatical tweets about how great the launch/new product is, as though that proved it was a good launch.


> Take a handful of tweets that share an opinion and write an article that makes it seem like there's a mass exodus.

Well that's the press in 2019. Do no research at all, write clickbaity headlines, and maximize ads impressions. Content does not matter.


You can literally write a “some users say blah blah” article with any narrative and it won’t be fake news, strictly speaking.

Well, at least this article doesn’t embed a few tweets, which is an immediate sign of garbage journalism.


In any group of meaningful size you can find most any opinion you're looking for, the majority of reporting these days seems to boil down to "Person has thoughts, some others share them. Check out the ads below, to the side, and don't forget the modal"


Noticed that too. Whenever there's a headline along the lines of 'People are doing x' I view that as a red flag. Similar to articles with 'experts say' in the title.


A disturbing trend of the internet age.

Humans are terrible at quantifying these 'movements'. Even 50 people complaining about something can SEEM like a lot.

Our brains just aren't wired to do proper statistics first analysis on incoming data. Everyone is susceptible to this default mode of thinking, including journalists. I believe it's the cause of some of the crazy, anti-science movements that we're seeing in the last 10 years.


While I don't disagree with your assessment of the article's lack of sources, I do think there should be more press coverage in general of privacy issues, so I'm conflicted.

If this article was written in a more "honest" way then it might just be the author's opinions on what scary things Google could someday do with massive troves of health data.


While a lot of people here are commenting that they fall into this group I would also say that the users on this forum are in no means a representative cross-section of the general public. Everyone here is far more aware of privacy issues around Google than 99% of Fitbit users.


And now people who want to convince others to leave behind their fitbits need only point them to this article to lend legitimacy to the claim that "everyone is doing it!". Stuff like this is part of why people don't trust the media anymore.


> Stuff like this is part of why people don't trust the media anymore.

This kind of nonsense is nothing new. It's been going on for ages.

You know those man-on-the-street news segments with people literally repeating the reporters words for a soundbite? It's the exact same thing.


This type of reporting is as old as the field; it's today's equivalent of "street reporting", where a reporter fields questions to people walking to work downtown their opinions on things. This isn't a scientific study, they don't have to have a complete consensus to report on what some Fitbit users are doing. Grow up.


I say use all the tricks in the book to get more people to stop using google. Trust in media has always been an issue. Trust a company with your data has never been worse.


I'm getting rid of everything.

I want a bumper sticker "burn fb,goo, etc to the ground"


Boycott my fitbit, I will. Jog angrily outside Google HQ all day, (sans credits, or achievements,) I must.


Bumber stickers are simple to make. If you're so passionate about this, why haven't you made one yet?


It's just perfect that you asked. With the environment of things relating to this article but in no specific terms........ I feel uncomfortable putting these words on my car...in the US.


So why say that you want the bumper sticker?


Maybe it wasn't a useful comment should I delete it?


I got rid of mine. I know that's just anecdotal.

I'm also replacing my Nest with an Ecobee soon now that they're forcing Google account migrations on everyone.


You know, back in the old days you used to make clickbait headlines using anecdata like cherry picked search terms on Google Trends.

https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=cancel%20f...

I tried a bunch of different terms, but still, I see no evidence of any exodus of any kind.


I don't have a fitbit but this move and the recent nuking of accounts because of youtube have gotten me to shift all my email to another service.


I was planning to get a FitBit to replace my "veryfitpro" (it's cheap and waterproof) but cancelled that idea after Google announced the acquisition of FitBit. Now I'm seriously considering an Apple watch since they seem to be the only ones that are serious about privacy now and in the long term.


I might believe it but I never hear anyone worrying about google having their data other than my fellow computer nerds. Your average American not so much. I hear a few of them talking about not putting anything on facebook that you don't want someone to see, but other than that they don't have a clue.


The article clearly states "some", I think this comment is a bit defensive in that regard.


It's important to understand that there are so many people on Twitter, and it has such good search function, that for any clickbait "people are actually saying X about Y!!* article you can imagine, you can find 7 tweets to support it.


> Yes, some people are privacy conscious and are going to stop using Fitbit but how many are actually doing it? A lot? A few?

If they were truly privacy conscious they wouldn't have a twitter anyway.


There is a big difference between the information you make public and information that you want to keep private. If you are using Twitter to express opinions publicly only, then there is little point in caring about how they deal with data you chose to make public to the entire world.

Direct messaging and protected tweets are a different story though, but your statement is objectively wrong.


I'm pretty sure that twitter also tracks what you read even if you don't publish anything. I also remember there was no way to hide the list of people you follow?

> your statement is objectively wrong.

this wording may be excessively strong.


Deleted my FitBit account when I read the news.


What is wrong with using Twitter as a source? This is how people communicate in 2019

What method would serve you better?


The issue being taken here isn't specifically twitter as a source but "a handful of tweets" as the source. Extrapolating/exaggerating from a very small sample of views into the impression of a mass movement.

It is like asking a couple of random people if they know me, getting negative responses, and using them as the basis for an article about the mysterious Dave person who no one seems to know anything about.


Is the point of the article valid?

Should People be concerned about their privacy?

Or should we not consider that thought until we collect a representative sample size?


> This is how people communicate in 2019

This is how a certain demographic communicates in 2019. Twitter does not represent society as a whole.


It's purely anecdotal. Nothing meaningful.

Did these people even own Fitbits in the first place? Have they even been using them recently? How many have actually thrown them away?

It's representative of nothing.


Much news relies on anecdotes. Some of which are anonymous (aka unsubstantiated) while still involving issues higher stakes. Media is about clicks and influence.


Obviously man on the street is more legitimate.


Everyone uses streets. Only a certain set of the population (usually left leaning & young) use Twitter.


Twitter is also overrun by propaganda bots and those peddling an agenda (e.g. Tesla perma-shorts).


After reading all these comments and too got rid of my fitbitt because the concerns are very genuine.

Thanks HN.


Obligatory XKCD: https://xkcd.com/2159/


Classic example of a social media dissenting opinion. "I don't agree with TFA, so clearly they're lying. It's okay, I don't need anything more than my gut instinct to disagree."


The person you’re responding to didn’t accuse them of lying, nor did they disagree.

Selecting colourful Twitter anecdotes and meshing them into prebaked narrative with a eye catching headline makes it click bait, not journalism.


You're turning a factual story into fake news.

>but how many are actually doing it? A lot? A few?

No one knows except Google and fitbit. As it is, is exactly "some"and since a lot of fitbit owners don't tweet, precisely because they care about privacy, the actual number is almost definitely a multiple of the tweeters.

What word other than "some" should they have used?


Yep, immediately thought the same.

Journalism is dead. It's honestly a shame.


No, it's not dead. There are still plenty of very good journalists and in-depth stories being published. They are just more crowded by this type of entertainment "news".

If you want real news, there are plenty of places to find it.


And yet most people don't find it - why?

Because it's crowded out by "articles" such as this.

Most "in-depth" stories being published are just longer length narrative pushers.


After having worked at Google, it is the only company I actually do trust with my data. (But I am also ok with them using it to customize my experience, and even target ads)

Their internal privacy controls are extensive.

As a human, it is nearly impossible to access someone's data, even when debugging code/ML models/etc.

And when you do need to, it requires exhaustive oversight/approval, and _everything_ is audited.


I'm an Xoogler who worked on the privacy team a few years ago. All of this is true, and at the time I worked there, I made the conscious, considered decision to buy in to the Google data collection ecosystem because I trusted the people I worked with to protect my data.

Several years out, I no longer trust Google - not because I trust my former (immediate) coworkers less, but because the direction the entire advertising/data science industry is taking as a whole is deeply concerning to me. I disagree with almost all of it on principle, and am no longer comfortable supporting it by allowing unfettered collection of my personal data, regardless of who is doing the collecting or how much they promise not to sell my data.

(Companies were never "selling" data anyway - they were using it themselves, sharing it with their partners without an explicit sale, and otherwise doing things with it that I don't approve of which do not meet the strict definition of "sale".)


> Several years out, I no longer trust Google - not because I trust my former (immediate) coworkers less, but because the direction

It makes me uncomfortable that the data is always there, and the direction of the business just needs to change. Perhaps they're not being profitable enough for wall street? And on a time scale of 10 more years, I'm sure there will be a number of "incidents" in which teams were given approval to use the data in unsavory ways.


This is exactly why I'm one of the (probably many) silent switchers away from Fitbit now that this acquisition has happened. Whatever Google says now, in one or two or ten years, that could change, and my data will still be there.

> I'm sure there will be a number of "incidents" in which teams were given approval to use the data in unsavory ways.

This is my other concern, closely related to the first. Data companies (Google included) have a very different idea of what is "savory" w.r.t data usage. Not from a place of malice, necessarily, but innocence/privilege/not thinking about the consequences.

Let's say the engineers are building a data-using feature, such as one which takes Fitbit health data and links it to your medical record to recommend tests or interventions that might benefit you. Those engineers may only think about how many lives this will save - the benefits of sharing this data. Because there are some benefits, for some people, in that use case. The problem is when those engineers do not consider all the many ways that sharing could go wrong, and how many other people could be hurt. Discrimination, denial of insurance, stalking, etc.

Personally, I think it would be incredibly beneficial for most software engineers to spend time learning hacking and adversarial thinking. Teaching the people who build these features to think about how the features could, and will, be misused would likely help them build better, safer features. (/soapbox :) )


Thanks for sharing.

I lean to agree that it's more of a shift in public perception of Big Data companies. And hurting Google even when it might be one of the better players.


1) That can change at any time,

2) Those data are never going away, and may not (=will not) belong to Google forever,

3) Data that exists can be demanded by the government, justly or otherwise, and they will get it—private companies running a dragnet spy operation on everyone is only marginally better than the government doing the same directly,

4) Targeted ads are adversarial. So are ads in general, really—yes I know they can be useful but I'm talking in general, and in practice—but it's definitely more off-putting to be spied on then have that information used against you.

5) Google's incentives suck, their ethics suck, and I don't trust one bit that they won't do all kinds of nasty shit with the data they've collected the moment that looks like it's best for their bottom line.


1) why would a company remove that systems? They've been practically leak free since they started. Why risk the public outcry if a junior developer walks out with a couple of terabytes of personal data because they loosened access to such data without any clear advantage?


Because they are compelled by a different government from the present one.


One quick and easy example is China.

To echo what someone else said further up the thread, the fact that they have the data is a liability to people. Policies and protocols can change over time. Just because they have great data access protocols in place now doesn't mean it will always be that way.

What happens when the temptation for more profit becomes too great? There are plenty of companies who have (unknowingly) killed their golden goose for short-term profit.


> Their internal privacy controls are extensive.

That may be true.

However, the quality of their internal controls has nothing to do with why I don't trust Google. I don't trust Google's official and company-sanctioned uses of my data.


One thing I have to say is that Google is competitive because of the fact it has so much data. It wants that locked down to keep that advantage. At the same time, I am uncomfortable with the power this affords them over people.


You certainly did drink the Kool-aid.

The only problem is that if everything you say is actually true (it might only haven been true for you, or for a subset of folks working there), there is strictly no guarantee that it will last, especially now that all the people who did make Google into what is is culture-wise are long gone enjoying their [B|M]illions.

The next wave of leaders that are taking over have far less scruples and inherited a no-string-attached treasure chest (actually, a better analogy would be a amazingly well stocked armory) and will do with it whatever they damn please.


>Their Internal privacy controls are extensive.

And what about "External privacy controls"?

I think that even fb devs can say such thing but...


Enternal? Did you mean external?


Do users have access to the audit logs of those who have accessed their information?


I bought a Garmin the day Fitbit sold out and haven't touched the Fitbit since. I'm very happy with the switch, the Garmin (Vivosmart 4) app and device are actually better than Fitbit's on almost every account, so that's a double win :)

The only unfortunate consequence is that Garmin's import service only imports very coarse data from your Fitbit export, so all detailed historic records are lost unless you manually dig through your Fitbit export files. I hope Garmin will still provide a 100% complete importer in the future.


Any idea how data exporting is with the Vivosmart 4? I thought about getting one but one of my main use cases for getting a fitness tracker is exporting data and then creating custom visualizations from it. I haven't dug into this world much yet but curious what the best hardware would be for this use case.


If you sync to garmin connect its easy enough to manually download many different formats of activity recording for fitness activities. I don't have a vivosmart but I haven't had issues collecting data from my Fenix watch.

There is a service I do like from https://tapiriik.com/ that will sync all your fitness data across a bunch of common fitness apps (it helps when all your friends want to link up for activities but nobody agrees on a single tracking platform). One of the sync options is just to directly download all the raw datafiles to dropbox which is pretty convenient.

If none of those sound good you could roll your own from the source code to tapiriik which is available here: https://github.com/cpfair/tapiriik . It does use some hacks to get around garmin not making all their APIs easy for personal development.


Like the sibling comment mentions, there is a free Garmin Connect online service that lets you upload the data via bluetooth to your phone and then your phone transmits it to the Garmin server. From there the way I use it is to automatically send it to my Strava account (it's my only active social media account) and manually I download the raw data file from Garmin's Connect website to my PC so I can import it into Golden Cheetah for some analysis and personal backup. One could directly download the file from most devices to your laptop via wire or bluetooth, but that may not be as convenient as doing everything electronically. Also, I've actually worn out several USB connectors on fitness devices just from plugging/unplugging over the years so avoiding using physical ports for data transfers is a priority for me.


I haven't tried with a Vivosmart 4 but most Garmin devices can be directly mounted as a USB drive and then you can copy the FIT files. There is an SDK available for parsing the files.

https://www.thisisant.com/developer/


The exports from Garmin's Connect aren't always easy (though they improved at around the same time that GDPR came into force). At one time, it was necessary to download each day's dataset individually.

The FIT file format isn't fully documented (SDK has encumbrances and perhaps cost -- it's been a while since I checked).

Here are some of the tools I've used with Vivosmart HR and Fenix 3HR FIT files. They're not polished for easy usage, but they'll get a technically-skilled hacker started. The core is Kiyokazu Suto's 'fitdump' perl.

https://github.com/4kbt/ParseVivosmartHR


I'd buy a Garmin if they provided a FitBit importer.


They do: https://support.garmin.com/en-US/?faq=HfJ4xPchdD3cmZ2qtDpOR8...

But it currently only imports coarse data, e.g. your average heartrate on a given day. Not the granular minute-by-minute information.

Sleep statistics currently aren't imported at all.


I sold my Fitbit for a Garmin in the last month and the importer really didn't do much. Fitbit only gives 31 days of data.


open source and reverse engineers assemble


If only we could get a sense of how many people would actually use such a thing. I've got a feeling that 97% of FitBit users don't care, but if enough of them did then it could be a potentially profitable(albeit short-lived) piece of software.


"Google could know which medications I take, and what any medical diagnosis's I have," Carpenter said. "It makes me feel sick to my stomach."

Google already knows what diagnoses people have, simply because people have been searching their symptoms. Remember when Google several years ago boasted about predicting epidemics faster than the health care system, based on searches?


They are not doing this anymore [0] and I assume there is a reason for that.

UDPATE: Here is the reason: "And then, GFT failed—and failed spectacularly—missing at the peak of the 2013 flu season by 140 percent. When Google quietly euthanized the program, called Google Flu Trends (GFT), it turned the poster child of big data into the poster child of the foibles of big data. " [1]

[0] https://www.google.org/flutrends/about/

[1] https://www.wired.com/2015/10/can-learn-epic-failure-google-...


Maybe that people look up all kinds of things not related to themselves. For example, read an article and it mentions some illness you have not heard of, you double tap the illness in question and right-click and search for that. Things like that will skew results. Heck, if google based my health upon what I've googled over the years then they would of had me flagged as dead many times over.


That just says they are no longer publishing it. That is very intentional phrasing.

>Google Flu Trends and Google Dengue Trends are no longer publishing current estimates


As well they say they are working with universities on that. Basically, they are doing something most probably, but not necessary have something valuable.


> missing at the peak of the 2013 flu season by 140 percent.

Can someone decode what this actually means? Was their estimate of flu cases 140 percent higher or lower than the actual amount (or maybe lazily meant "at 140 percent", so, estimate was 40 percent low), was the peak offset by 1.4 months (or 14 months??), something else?


That's different that wearing a tracking device ok your arm.

People are really upset because google started acting politically. If they weren't concerned about Google's judgment they wouldn't be worried.

But they're right to worry.


It's not the politics, it's that I don't like voyeuristic stalkers. I don't care how much money they're making voyeuristically stalking people.


>That's different that wearing a tracking device ok your arm.

An activity tracking device on your arm can't determine what medication you are taking or what diagnosis you have unless it has a secret microphone that is recording every conversation and uploading it for analysis, which is what the concern the person you replied to quoted.


Who doesnt have a phone? Who doesnt talk to people with a phone? If Google is secretly recording conversations almost everyone is covered regardless of what device they have - even no device.


But it can know how active / inactive you are and may also know your location(s) (if you enable that).


Acting politically is ok

Acting corporately is totally not ok


As an employed person happy with my life I enjoy my corporation, does this make me not ok?


If you CEO/CTO/top of that corp it seems ok for me

If you decent person of course


"People" may have, but that does not mean Carpenter or other specific Fitbit owners did.

There's the general and the specific.


Even the "general" interpretation is bloody wrong. People google more symptoms than their own, and not everybody uses google either. FitBit's data is valuable to any party trying to muscle themselves into siphoning some of that health care money.

Google is on a war path, but many prefer to stick their heads in the sand.


I am not representative of the average person, of course, but when I think of the times that I've searched the web for medical symptoms, I'm pretty sure the it has never been because I myself was experiencing those symptoms. It's always been for educational or curiosity purposes.


They might know in general what people search for, but as a person using !google for both email and search I too would be pretty pissed if my health data was going straight to the biggest advertiser.


I had recently begun considering a smart watch to replace my original Pebble, and was considering Fitbit, but this is exactly why I won't be going with them. I'm slowly De-Googling and spreading my digital life across multiple providers instead of being at the mercy of a single one. I don't expect my total privacy exposure will be significantly less, but it's more about not having my email, media purchases, phone integration, and more all tied to just Google.


PINE64 is working on a privacy-respecting Linux smartwatch dubbed the PineTime: https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/PineTime

Once my Pebble Time dies, I think that's where I'm going.


Yes, I'm very interested in this as well. My Pebble is still working fine, but the day will come when I need to replace it, and this is the only thing I've seen that looks like it might be able to do that.

The page says that it's 5 years away from release, though.


Expected Release: Q1/Q2 2020, pending on development result

I think the "Availability" note means how long they plan to support it and/or sell it.


Ah, thanks for the correction!


Dependency on Google is what I am trying to avoid.

I have finally began moving off of gmail, once that is complete, I will be free.

The reports of people being locked out of Google because of youtube comments was the last straw. The first straw, I guess, was when they bought Nest, I turned off my Nest cams right then and never looked back.

edit: spelling


What for you will use "smart watch"?

For real. There is not so much they can do and even less they can do properly


Same things I used my Pebble for.

Read and send canned responses to texts. See who's calling me. Read emails. Check bus/train schedule.

Basically an extension of my phone. You can debate the "smart" label if you like, but the semantics don't really concern me.


I'm more about "fitness and heath" aspect of such devices

And probably just hate small displays in general


Not the OP, but my Apple Watch has changed my life. Being able to track, manage, and be challenged on my exercise habits has helped me lose 30 pounds in 7 months.

Plus the convenience of knowing who’s calling without pulling my phone out, answer the call or text message directly from my Watch, check the temperature at a glance...

And it’s pretty good at telling time, too.


So just to be clear

If someone wear 1-10-100 "smart devices" that someone do not loose weight

You lost weight because you work hard, you eat smart and you change habits

https://www.strongerbyscience.com/complete-guide-to-bar-spee...

About phone calls - I prefer do not answer at all. Better to recall or write message or mail

About measurements - you really can't rely on any of wrist device sensors. They are not calibrated at all

And even better. You body has so much more preciser sensors than any device.

One device that can measure somewhat decent when you do exercises - chest strap monitor

And I love tech a lot. But tech which can improve my or someones life


This reminds me of the discussion where someone asserted that because were capable of taking our own pulse there’s no advantage to a device that tracks it all the time.

I’m not going to throw a chest sensor on every time I leave for lunch just in case I decide to jog there. Or when I get up from my desk to run up and down the stairs.

Nor is a chest sensor going to remind me to stand up every hour. Or allow me to set a reminder to take a bag out of my car when I get home. Or tell me what song is playing.

You’re welcome to choose not to use a smart watch, but to claim they can’t improve someone’s life is willful ignorance of the facts. They’ve already literally saved lives.


>to a device that tracks it all the time

There is the problem with hand devices and quality of measurements they do

Article describe it more properly

If you have heart problems and you need some measurements there are a lot of medical _calibrated_ devices for that

There are 0 devices for that which has only hand wearable part

Also consider such cases when such devices can do a lot of harm https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/28/fitness-tracki...

Any tech has pros and cons


You keep moving the goalposts.

First you claimed they weren’t useful. Now they’re simply inaccurate (somewhat valid, but see below) and when used stupidly can be privacy problems.

I can’t argue the latter, but that’s not just a smart watch problem.

Regarding accuracy, though, the Apple Watch is very accurate for heart rate, which is important because it can alert the wearer to dangerous heart conditions.

It’s also best-in-class accurate for calorie expenditure, which is fine for general day-to-day tracking and dietary planning.

https://www.macrumors.com/2017/05/24/apple-watch-heart-rate-...


Not useful - because inaccurate on individual level

Not useful - because algorithms for caloric expenditure are usable now only for group level experiments

>that’s not just a smart watch problem

True

https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4426/7/2/3/htm#jpm-07-00003-f003

>Overall, heart rate error was within the acceptable error range for the majority of task/device combinations, but EE error exceeded the allowed threshold for all tasks and devices.

And I repeat - for group level experiments such devices are good

For individual, without calibration - not

https://www.mdpi.com/2075-4426/7/2/3/htm#fig_body_display_jp...

You can see this on Fig2. That individual dots on image - that may be error on your device on your body

And even more - I do not know what for you need your pulse measurements. Even accurate

You do not need that number when you reach your peak velocity and do not need it when your sitting

>It’s also best-in-class accurate for calorie expenditure, which is fine for general day-to-day tracking and dietary planning.

I know even more accurate device for such purpose

Scales

And btw - scales can be mechanical so they can't send your data


I’ve owned/own 4 Fitbit products and was planning my change before this news. The privacy thing is an issue but compared to your phone, it’s pretty small potatoes. The issue that really irks is the products seem to take software updates that make them worse, often with bad bugs. Like my ionic will vibrate when a phone call comes in and continue to until the call ends. Bands wear out too quickly and are expensive to replace. The watches themselves seem to die at an almost predictable rate. Then the price is sort of in this sweet spot of being inexpensive enough to not hurt you but expensive enough to be frustrating when it’s not right.

I like the concept but I think Fitbit doesn’t have enough data points to be really useful and then the execution is mediocre. Maybe google will be good for them but I think I’ll switch


My blaze has the same calling issue...

The Blaze though has standard watch bands so you can replace it inexpensively with any type of watch band as long it's the right size.


I was planning on switching to iPhone at some point next year while I figure out how to replace the smart phone with a dumb phone plus other devices.


27 million active Fitbit users at end of 2018.

"Several" say they are getting rid of the devices because of a lack of trust in Google. How many constitutes "several" is left for the reader to calculate. 27? 270? 2,700?

Poor journalism.


If I buy anyone in my family a home speaker, or Fitbit, or other thing for holiday I'm getting laughed back into my car


Anecdotes don't necessarily correlate to populations.


They certainly don't but this entire discussion board is either people talking about their views and their experiences or sharing information and resources about things that correlate to populations so have I done something wrong here?


Independent tech in the 2010s is like independent banking in the 2000s. You find a decent partner and 6 months later you roll over and see BigCorp beside you.

I struggle to see how this even is consistent with the spirit of the Fitbit terms-- the purchase of the company transfers ownership of user data, which Fitbit assured customers it would never do. Time for some common sense concerning this consumer-unfriendly trend.


The average Joe that uses Fitbit probably doesn't even know that this transaction is happening. Sometimes we think people read the same news we read and understand things the same way we understand them. That's definitely not the case.


That was my thought - even the people who know may or may not care, but certainly everyone who owns a Fitbit doesn't know - my wife's work handed them out for Christmas one year - those people won't have any idea.

I'm also not sure why a sudden distrust of Google over Fitbit. It's not like Fitbit wasn't in a position to misuse your data as well. Google is just better at it.


For me the change is ownership was just the last straw, their incredibly crappy app and the difficulty in downloading my data was a more significant factor.


The app is pretty smooth and nice, syncing is usually good, maybe it's a bit limited in the stats it offers, but for me (tracking my weight, calories, and active hours) is good enough. Didn't try other apps though, so can't compare. I have been using it for over 2 years now almost daily and I'm pretty happy with it, especially that I can track my table-tennis activities and see how hard I actually tried.


Same here. I'm not going to use a health monitoring device from an advertising company.


I flip-flop on that. I mean you just get more relevant and useful ads? Running shoes on sale? Cool if I need some.

But you also don't want ads publicizing private health info to people who are nearby. Like, I don't want to sit down and watch "TV" at a friends house and have to wonder why I'm seeing ad after ad for valtrex.


I used to be on the relevant ads side of the equation. Then I realized that I have been pumping data into Google for two decades and I still get terrible ads. I've let Google peek into many parts of my life and they aren't giving me more useful ads now then they did in 1998.

Plus, if I need shoes it's not hard to find shoes. I order from Zappos and they show up tomorrow.


I always thought their app was really nice, but I have never tried to get data out of it.


I’ve had the same experience. I left Fitbit for Garmin early 2015 and switched back to Fitbit early 2017. Garmin has better overall health tracking but the app user experience is (was?) woefully lacking. I enjoyed and enjoy the Fitbit app and its 90% of the reason I went back.

However I am one of the ones trying to de-Google, so I’ll see how a data dump goes. Trying to find a device that toes the line between health tracker and smart watch as artfully as the Versa 1 does that isn’t produced by a monster Corp should be fun as well


For an anecdotal story, my finacee just went from a Fitbit to a Soleuos Fitness tracker. The change in ownership was one reason, but the reason was that the one she had broke 3 times within the first year of her having it. The first two times she sent it back, and the third time she gave up on it and didn't want to buy another Fitbit.

But I think seeing how Nest turned out is a great reason for not wanting to buy a Fitbit after being bought my Google (forcing tighter integration to Google, depreciating APIs to make it useful for other integrations, no really new innovation).


Ideally I would prefer a SmartWatch that has AsteroidOS [0] preinstalled that on the software-level is free from Google.

Such a watch might be very difficult to obtain. Even by flashing existing Android Wear devices not only it requires several steps, but the unfortunate lack of apps might be a big turn-off for many people.

Either that or my money will be going to an Apple Watch.

[0] https://asteroidos.org/


> Either that or my money will be going to an Apple Watch.

Because at least you're not the product?


I wonder if something like the PineTime would run Asteroid OS without much hassle. It seems to be a GNU/Linux distro under the hood.


Pro tip for Fitbit users that want a great alternative:

https://www.withings.com/


At first glance, these products looked compelling. But how is Withings actually any better? Per https://www.withings.com/us/en/legal/privacy-policy:

>"How do we use your personal data?

...

>Marketing, advertising and making recommendations[.] Your personal data may be used to offer surveys, competitions, discount coupons or events in which you are free to participate. We may provide you with information on our Products, such as new features, sales offers from Withings or our partners, or to announce new Products. You may opt out of marketing offers by logging into your Withings account and managing your notification preferences.

...

>Modification of the present Policy[.] Withings may modify the present Policy with or without previous notice, block the access to the website, or change its access conditions "

Will all due respect: eff that. As others have noted here and elsewhere, marketing and advertising -- especially that using my personal data -- is adversarial.

I paid for a thing, just let me have that thing.

And before anyone unhelpfully suggests, "they have an opt-out policy"... well, we all understand that once your intimate, valuable data is siphoned off your wrist, the horse has left the barn, right? That genie is out of the bottle, that bell has rung, and all kinds of other euphemisms that illustrate how the data is no longer in your control, and all the opt-outs in the world are not going to actually delete all your data. It's been forked to Utah, backed up, sharded, "anonymized" and combined with all the other data you've generated on devices sold by other companies -- for every single "partner" that paid them, as well as everyone who did not pay them, in the cases of Utah and corporate espionage.

An actual alternative would be a device that has no connectivity to my pocket surveillance slab or anything with an uncontrollable baseband processor, nor connectivity to the Internet generally. Let me be in actual control.

Thanks for the advice, but I'm sticking with my Casio dumbwatch. Doesn't peep on my daily activities, but it accurately tells time and I love that thing. Bonus is that I have to think about its battery only once a decade.


Well, if the data is never leaving your wrist you will never see any graphs and never actually enjoy the great things a training watch gives you.

Sure they may store my personal data and I would prefer if they didn't sell it to any third party. I would also prefer a product which can store information locally on the phone but never sync it to the "cloud".

The thing is, there is no such products because people are stupid and would be furious if they switch phones and their data was lost on them because they didn't understand that the data was only stored locally and never left the device.

I would buy such a product, if it existed, but it don't AFAIK. Fitbit stored the same amount of data as Withings do, it's just because Google bought them that people are worried.

Withings is basically a rival to Fitbit and since you don't want the data to ever leave your wrist, this sort of product is clearly not for you.


I think the point I was making is not whether the data is allowed to leave my wrist, but to "let me be in actual control" of my data.

In a world of USB sticks, micro SD cards, and $5 Raspberry Pis, I can imagine human-friendly ways of sharing data that don't involve tethering my wrist to someone else's computer.

> The thing is, there is no such products because people are stupid and would be furious if they switch phones and their data was lost on them because they didn't understand that the data was only stored locally and never left the device.

"[P]eople are stupid"? I'd like to give people a bit more credit. They can move data around, without surprise or fury: plenty still use Ethernet cables, USB sticks, iPod Shuffles, Blurays, etc.


Ugh, that privacy policy really is a total showstopper.


Fitbit users are getting rid of the devices because previously all the services were bundled with the cost of the physical device but now they want you to buy the device and subscribe to Fitbit Premium.

Source: first-hand contact with Fitbit users in the Real World


I used to have a fitbit, it broke within the warranty time and sold the replacement rather than actually keep using it. Since then I've been thinking of getting a new one, but the Google acquisition instead prompted me to have my account deleted.


Bought a device that uploads data to the internet, surprised when it's not used for their benefit.

Stop buying devices that require internet access, you have a supercomputer in your pocket that they can connect to. And a home network.


I basically use Fitbit for sleep tracking more than any other feature. And I used to be a loyal Jawbone Up customer (yes, replacing it every few months when the band snapped) for the same reason.

This may be off topic since it has nothing to do with this acquisition, but does anyone know of a equivalent or superior sleep tracker that you wear on your arm?


I am afraid to sleep with my Fitbit, I think I would wake up with battle scars on my face.


https://www.barbellmedicine.com/blog/placebo-sleep/

tldr: just say to yourself that you sleep was amazing and do not need any tracking


This is fine, people can do what they want, but they're deluding themselves if they think small companies are perfect stewards of data. How exactly do these people know that Fitbit wasn't already selling their data using it in a way they don't approve of?


One reason I like sharing smaller slices of my privacy with smaller companies is that it makes it harder to correlate everything.

I have no doubt Google can tie together every aspect of my life if I let them.


One advantage of smaller companies is that the amount of damage they can do is more limited.


> Google explicitly said in the deal announcement that it won’t sell their personal or health data.

That’s not all. Google also said they will not use your data to target ads. In a forward looking statement about the deal. That’s significant.


This sounds snarky, but I honestly don't intend it that way... Google's statements on this are only significant if you trust Google.


For what it's worth: I switched from Fitbit to Garmin about a year back, but hearing about the Google purchase actually made me log back in to my old Fitbit account and request deletion of all my data.


I don't think Google cares about this relative handful of people. They will keep moving on and 90% of society will go with them.

I often wonder what will happen to the few individuals who are willing to push tech/privacy issues so far that they will be okay with being left behind. In 50 years will we have communities of amish-like people who choose to continue living as if it's 2005? Will they be really good at making furniture?


I saw some while killing time at an electronics store. My thought train went something like:

Uh, nice. Oh wait. Fitbit? Wasn’t it just acquired by google? Ah I need to get off gmail too..


And yet they use Android daily. :D


Privacy is becoming something only the wealthy can afford.


Did Google harvest data from AOSP/lineage?


I'm using a Fitbit and I'm thinking about just uninstalling the app.

The watch is set up like I want it to, it can show my heartbeat during training, the steps of the day and the time. Obviously without the app and data synchronisation I will not get weekly fitness reports, but I don't really care about those.

Maybe my next watch will be a dumb one again. Didn't get that much out of a smart watch as I expected.


You might be able to estimate how many users are jumping ship by looking at the resale market (say on eBay) and if it’s spiked recently.


I'm just an n=1, but I got rid of my two Fitbits (returned to Costco as they were still within 90 days) primarily for this reason.


Personally I stopped using Fitbit a long time ago because the band came unglued and it fell apart.


I find this very naive. The op is not trusting Google because someone told them not to trust Google. They were trusting Fitbit because nobody told them not to.

How did Fitbit make their money to pay for the online services? Only from selling devices? You really believe that?


not a single statistic or data point. this is really garbage content


Are there any good alternatives out there? (leaving Apple/Google products aside).


They should probably send a GDPA request to delete all their data as well.


Ordered a Garmin few days back for the same reasons.


Same and I'm kicking myself for not switching sooner. If you care about improving your running ability then getting a Garmin is a no-brainer. The PacePro feature which just arrived on my FR245 is incredible.


I am wearing xiaomi band. [trolling] What could be a problem?


some say


Fitbit is a terrible product. Enjoy paying smart watch prices for a tiny screen that tells you your heart rate.


I have a watch with gears in it that only tells me the time. It cost more than an Apple Watch, too. How stupid of me!




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: