Following the release of the iPhone 5s with the M7 motion coprocessor, a number of fitness apps sprang up to utilize all the data it could capture. Our favorite app was Moves, a user-friendly fitness tracker that makes it easy to cycle through the number of steps you’ve taken, the number of calories burned, the number of miles walked and the amount of time spent moving in a given day. Then the app was purchased by Facebook on April 24 of this year, much to the chagrin of many users.
We may share information, including personally identifying information, with our Affiliates (companies that are part of our corporate groups of companies, including but not limited to Facebook) to help provide, understand, and improve our Services.
They’ll also share your information with the police.
We may access, use, preserve, and share your information, including your personally identifying information, with third parties when we have a good faith belief that it is necessary to: detect, prevent and address fraud and other illegal activity; protect ourselves, you and others, including as part of investigations; or prevent death or imminent bodily harm. We may also share such information if we believe that you have abused your rights to use the Services or violated an applicable law, or in connection with any dispute between you and us with respect to the Services.
Oh yeah, and if they sell the business or even part of their business, they can use your personal information as part of that transaction.
If we sell all or part of our business, make a sale or transfer of assets, are otherwise involved in a merger or business transfer, or in the event of bankruptcy, we may disclose and transfer your personally identifying information to one or more third parties as part of that transaction.
In short, Facebook can use your information for whatever purpose it likes; it could target ads to you based on businesses you pass on your run, or sell your information to developers wanting to know if an area is popular with fitness fans. They can also share your location information with the police if they want to, totally without your consent.
Of course, this may just sound paranoid. Exactly how much information could Moves have on you? Here’s everything that Moves collects from your phone, copied directly from their own website.
Data collection and processing Moves collects data from your phone to provide you with an easy way to track how and where you move in your everyday life. When you install, run or use our services we collect:
- Location. Our system starts to collect location data from sources such as GPS, Wi-Fi and cell towers once you install the App and consent to the App’s tracking your location. We also collect Accelerometer samples, Wi-Fi network IDs, activity data, and places you identify with the Services. You may choose to stop our collection of location data through the Settings that we provide in the App, or by removing the App from your phone.
- Information you provide. If you choose to create an account, you provide us your email and a password. You may also provide other information such as your gender, height, weight, and birth year in order to use all of the App’s features.
- Information from your device. This includes information about your operating system, device identifier, carrier, language, battery performance, wi-fi or other network connections, or other data that you permit the App to access on your device including through permissions on your device (e.g. Google Play on Android).
- Communications with us. If you communicate with us, we collect the information and content you provide to us, including personally identifying information such as your name, email or other contact information. You can provide anonymous feedback by using an email account that does not reveal your identity.
Signing this agreement only gives Facebook access to your travel data and personal information down to how fast you walk or run and what your average battery life is like. Given that Facebook isn’t exactly known for respecting the privacy of its users when money can be made, this update is especially troubling for anyone who worries about the increasing amount of personal information that must be traded just to use simple programs. I reiterate: it’s possible that this is just my paranoia kicking in. It’s also possible that you’ll see “David ran 2 miles this week, how far could you go with Moves” ads in your Facebook feed. We’ll have to wait and see.
If that level of information sharing is not to your liking, there are many other M7-enabled apps that aren’t owned by Facebook, including RunKeeper’s Breeze (free).