|This is the one :)|
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What is Google Fit?Google Fit is a service that provides functionality like heart rate monitoring, step counting, calorie-burning and activity monitoring. It can also detect the distinction between walking, running and bicycling. It appears that when you drive a car or go by train (probably just when going faster than a certain speed) it will not count towards your activity. So no smuggling there!
The types of data that are automatically collected are:
- Steps / distance
- Time of activity
- Detection of going by foot (walking and running) or bike.
- Location data
- Heart rate
|An example of a Graph of Google Fit|
|An example of Google Fit on Android Wear|
Activity Detection and Accuracy levelIn the Google Fit app there are two settings I want to mention. The first one is that of Activity Detection. When enabled the app puts all the sensors to work to detect when you are being active or not. The service will run continuously in the background and when activity is detected, the data is being collected.
The other settings, which was added in a recent update, reflects the new GPS functionality. If you enable this feature you will allow other apps (and thus also Google Fit itself) to improve distance and location tracking while performing your work-out. The warning for reduced battery life holds truth, and ultimately I disabled this feature myself.
Despite the fact this functionality was recently added to the app, the data was actually already being collected. It can be now more accurate then before (apparently) and the data now also shows up in your dashboards in the app and on the website.
So what is collected in summary?Google Fit collects data about you being active and inactive. It can sensor if you are likely walking, running, biking, moving by car or train (its just ignores that), and when you are doing just nothing. And when you do that, Google Fit can measure how fast you are going and where you exactly are at that moment. And when you submit your hearth-rate data, length and weight it will use that data too. Google Fit can correlate this data into a view about your movements, physical condition and whereabouts during a specific time period.
What are the privacy and security features of Google Fit?
- Communicating with the service goes through a secure connection. See the image below for the details about the security. It is not possible to communicate with the service through insecure connections and there is no way to use Google Fit without a Google Account. Protect your Google Account with good security, especially when collecting health-data about yourself.
- Delete History feature. This will delete all your Google Fit data on the Google services. When you want to stop using Google Fit, first disable it or remove it from all your devices. Then delete your history through the website itself.
- Third-parties connection. When you want third party apps to connect to your Google Fit data, you will have to explicitly give permission first. Beware here, because those apps can also store data in your Google Fit service and can share or use them in other ways then Google intents with this service. You can find more about this here.
|Information about the Security of the connection|
|Google Fit platform overview|
The fitness store is a cloud service that persists fitness data using Google's infrastructure. Apps on different platforms and devices can store data and access data created by other apps. Google Fit provides a set of APIs that make it easy to insert data and query the fitness store.The way the service works is explained in a short but transparent manner. There is no easy way find specific privacy information about Google Fit though. When you look at the Terms of Service (ToS) of Google Fit for developers you can find the following Use Limitations.
Google does not intend Google Fit to be a medical device. You may not use Google Fit in connection with any product or service that may qualify as a medical device pursuant to Section 201(h) of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic (FD&C) Act.
Unless otherwise specified in writing by Google, Google does not intend uses of Google Fit to create obligations under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, as amended (“HIPAA”). Google makes no representations that Google Fit satisfies HIPAA requirements. If you are or become a Covered Entity or Business Associate under HIPAA, you agree not to use Google Fit for any purpose or in any manner involving Protected Health Information (as defined by HIPAA) unless you receive prior written consent to such use from Google. You acknowledge that upon discovery of a violation of this provision, Google may terminate your use of Google Fit. You are solely responsible for any applicable compliance with HIPAA and agree to hold Google harmless for any uses contrary to this provision.They pretty much say that Google Fit is not suitable for anything related to healthcare or its insurance (I understand that), nor does it pretend to have the same security level as healthcare or health insurance services (frowny face here). And this last part might be a problem if you consider that there is a fine line between health-data and medical data. When does one ends and starts the other?
Your Google Fit data might be used for:
- Improving Google services.
- Showing more relevant search results.
- Combing health-data with other Google services.
- After anonymization, sharing with their partners such as publishers and advertisers.
- Sharing with partners to which Google has sourced services.
- And sharing for the obvious legal reasons. Keep in mind that governments or intelligence agencies might get your health-data from Google Fit easier than from healthcare or health insurance companies.
This is a particular category of personal information relating to confidential medical facts, racial or ethnic origins, political or religious beliefs or sexuality.
And what about Third-Parties apps and services?