Wearables & Privacy – What You Need To Know

Wearables & Privacy – What You Need To Know

Continuing my seemingly never-ending quest of digging through privacy policies, this time I analyzed how the most popular wearables companies handle their customers’ data. Fitbit, Biostrap, Motiv, Oura and Whoop all are on the cutting edge of health technology, but are their privacy practices on par with that or not?

A fellow biohacker Alex Fergus provided me with the opportunity to publish my little research article on his website. Over the years he has published tons of information on fitness, sleep and – of course – health gadgets. Few days ago he published the most comprehensive red light panel comparison I’ve ever seen, analyzing everything from EMF levels to irradiance and LED flicker. Let’s just say he knows his stuff, so I’m excited to try to match his professionalism on that space with mine about privacy.

I believe it’s time for the biohacker community to start valuing their data more. In my guest blog post you’ll learn:

  • What data do these wearables collect?
  • Are they selling or exchanging data with third parties?
  • Data retention – how long are they storing your data?
  • What can you do?
  • And more…

So head over to alexfergus.com and learn everything you need to know about wearables and privacy!

Freedom of Speech in the Age of Privacy Policies

Freedom of Speech in the Age of Privacy Policies

(I got access to thinkspot beta and this was my first post on that platform. I decided to crosspost it here to increase awareness of thinkspot, and also because the issues I raise here are relevant on other social media platforms as well.)

 

Hi, I’m Joel, and I eat Privacy Policies for breakfast.

I’m thrilled to be among the first users a social platform that encourages free speech and exchange of ideas, driven by the idea of diversity of minds – the true diversity – not the superficial diversity of how we look or where we come from. However, there can be no free speech without privacy. In a similar vein, Snowden famously wrote few years ago that “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.” Well I care about both. It makes a lot of sense then for my first contribution on this platform to be an analysis of thinkspot’s Privacy Policy.

All comments are made about Privacy Policy that’s dated to be effective starting August 8, 2019. It seems that they don’t keep an archive of old policies, so I took the liberty to archive this one myself. They do however notify users “in advance of any material updates to this Privacy Policy by providing a notice on the Website or via email”, so that’s a good thing. Here’s some of the most notable parts of the policy.

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How to Setup LinkedIn for Better Privacy and OPSEC

How to Setup LinkedIn for Better Privacy and OPSEC

When it comes to privacy and social media platforms, LinkedIn is the necessary evil we have to put up with. While it’s a no-brainer to delete your Facebook account and the likes of Snapchat attention-span-of-a-goldfish platforms are easy to skip, but so much of job recruitment revolves around LinkedIn that it’s a lot harder to severe ties with it. Many companies don’t even post their offerings anywhere else than on LinkedIn, and prefer applications that come directly through the platform. It’s also a great tool for headhunters to find suitable candidates.

So let’s assume you have a LinkedIn profile, you want to build up your online resume and personal brand, and want to be able to jump on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity if it presents itself. However, you can accomplish all that without revealing every aspect of your professional self for the whole world to see. Let’s start of with LinkedIn settings and then move on to platform behavior and other tips.

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The Best Online Privacy Guides

The Best Online Privacy Guides

This is a collection of the best, most reputable and generally most acknowledged online privacy guides on the web. They are sorted in alphabetical order to avoid any biases, and each of them contain a short snippet quoted from the respective sites. I have not and will not add privacy guides that are created by VPN “review” sites or other such entities that create content just to spam it with affiliate links.

I dare to say that these guides together cover all the bases when it comes to the best privacy practices, OPSEC, and basic online anonymity – even for the more advanced users. However, if you think I’m missing a guide, please leave a comment below and I’ll happily review and possibly add it to the list, thank you.

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Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

Why Quitting the Big Five is Bad Privacy Advice

The big five – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google & Microsoft – have got a stranglehold of our digital life. Not just our digital identities, but almost all of our web experiences are reliant or connected to the technologies of these five companies.

Recently, Daniel Oberhaus from Motherboard and then Kashmir Hill from Gizmodo both experimented by completely “quitting” the Big Five, for four and six weeks respectively. Both of their stories are very insightful and definitely recommended reading for anyone. However, quitting the Big Five is exactly the kind of take on privacy that turns many people off from becoming more privacy aware.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again in r/privacy, where people who have just tipped their toes in the world on online privacy and security are getting barraged with comments like “LOL IF YOU’RE NOT USING LINUX YOU’RE SCREWED” and “YOU NEED TO DELETE ALL SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS”. But if we as a privacy community would dial back our tone just a bit, I think we could do way more good than what we’re doing right now.

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Is DNA Based Healthcare Worth the Risk?

Is DNA Based Healthcare Worth the Risk?

All of us are built differently. That’s why our bodies can handle different foods in different ways, different workout routines yield varying results between individuals, and some of us seem to always get the seasonal flu while others stay stuffy-nose-free (seemingly without trying really hard to do so). So figuring out what’s the healthiest – the best – way of eating, exercising and living your life seems like a reasonable and even rational goal.

So how can we figure that out? With DNA testing, or to be more exact, analyzing genome and blood biomarkers. However, this type of testing has some obvious privacy repercussions. Let’s weigh the pros and the cons.

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