General Question

LuckyGuy's avatar

Why does the Striiv Band Activity Tracking App need access to my Identity, Contacts, Location, and Photos/Media/Files?

Asked by LuckyGuy (38431points) December 5th, 2015

It’s supposed to be an Activity Tracker! Period!
Why should it need all those permissions? I refuse to give up this info to strangers. If there is no way around this invasion of privacy I will not use it. It is worthless to me.
Are other activity trackers this invasive? What does Fitbit request?

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29 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LuckyGuy Welcome to android, many apps are collecting your meta data.

kittybearez's avatar

“Activity Tracker” it’s supposed to track the stuff that you’re doing. Which is why it needs access.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

What app permissions are doing

LuckyGuy's avatar

@kittybearez It is supposed to track: steps, distance, calories, hours active, hours sleeping, times awakened. That is all I want it to do.
Why does it need to know my contacts? Or access to my photos, media, and files? Does anyone agree to this or do they not notice?

@ARE_you_kidding_me I refuse to do it. If I can’t find a work-around I will give this brick away. I might couple it to a second device that has nothing on it.

jaytkay's avatar

One strategy is to use a separate Google account on the phone, without your contact list.

Which is inconvenient on a phone, but some people do that.

I don’t really care about the privacy issue. What bugs me is all the “social” activity eating up processing power on the phone. All sorts of apps freeze while their connecting with twitter and facebook et al, even though I don’t use social media.

Vincentt's avatar

If you have root access on your device, you could try XPrivacy. With it, you can prevent the application from actually accessing all that data, at the point in time where it tries to instead of when you are installing it. Very useful, since you might e.g. find out that it allows you to set a profile picture, at which point you might or might not be OK with it accessing your pictures.

LuckyGuy's avatar

These are great suggestions. I will make, yet another, throwaway Google account and put only that on the unused phone. The phone will only connect to the web via wifi.
This is not inconvenient at all I have an extra phone that I will used specifically for this purpose.

The new email address will have only about 100 contacts and all will be contacts I grabbed from my Spam blocked list in case someone eventually steals the data. That will keep them busy.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It likely needs that stuff for the social media integration.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I don’t want social media integration and, frankly, I don’t want to hear about anyone else’s. I just want to use the device to tell ME what I’m doing.
Unfortunately they are using social media as an excuse to do what they want with my info. I am not going to give them that chance.
Fake Google account it is.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It would be nice if you could manage app permissions and force the apps to ask for permission to do certain things. I’m guessing the reason Google does not do this is because they are collecting your data also.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Exactly! Facebook figures the data from every profile is worth $40 per account!!! Maybe Fitbit and Striiv are thinking the same way.

Why should I let them have access to my files? Doesn’t this bother anyone? I guess not.much.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@LuckyGuy It didn’t bother me too much. You can’t hide anything anyway, privacy is a thing of the past unfortunately. The only way to secure data is to simply not have any.

jca's avatar

@LuckyGuy you bring up a good question and maybe if more people were attentive and resistant, the apps like that one would have to change their methods.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I can and need to have data. We all do. Sure I probably can’t hide stuff from the NSA, but a commercial product made in China? No way! I will do my best to make it difficult.
I see no reason to give Striiv open access to my tax files or my contacts, or my documents.

I just want the freaking thing to count my steps, and count calories. I want it to be an activity tracking device. Not an ACTIVITY tracking device! Striiv is not the NSA!!!
I solved the problem. I used Tor and set up a bogus Gmail account on a stripped throwaway MotoG .
They can look all they want. Nothing is there. When I get time I will fill it with some crap.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I just came in from spending 3 hours outside, working in the barn, in the garage, in the orchard, out by the pond, taking care of business.

I was moving non-stop: disconnecting hoses and dragging them to the barn. I shot a squirrel and put it out at the fox feeder. I changed out the air stone and hoses in the pond aerator. I brought in about 500 pounds of wood for next week. I replaced the fittings on my compressor and air tools. I tightened the slack line in te orchard…... 3 hours of non-stop activity. I figure I walked at least 4 miles around the property and burned a pile of calories.

When I got inside I checked the Striiv Band and…. it was GONE! F**K!!! Problem solved!!!

I’ll go out tomorrow but I covered so much ground and there are so many leaves I don’t have much hope.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Oh no! I’m sorry you went through so much hassle, but I do admit that this amused me at the end! Haha! :)

But to answer a part of your question, no, my Fitbit didn’t need access to that information. You have the ability to link it with social media, but I don’t think you have to. I did, because seeing what other people do motivates me to be more active.

I hope you manage to find it. Would suck to lose it after spending the money for it and then going through the hassle to keep your privacy! But yes, thank you for directing me here, because this added some chuckles to my day.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I will look at the FitBit. On the positive side I now have a couple of really stealthy accounts. They might come in handy some day.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I actually just checked the app permissions, and I was wrong – there are permissions that you definitely wouldn’t like. However, you absolutely don’t have to use the app to get the benefits of tracking your information. It comes with a USB dongle that you can use with your computer in place of downloading the app. All you have to do is plug the dongle in, make sure the Fitbit is close by, go to their website and it uploads all of your activity for the day and your sleep patterns. You can log calories and do everything else you can in the app right on their website instead.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@DrasticDreamer Thanks! I would actually prefer to use the device wit my laptop rather than a phone.
The Striiv did not offer that option. Smart phone or nothing. The box lies and says laptops are ok but the website does not offer it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I bought another unit for $20 and wore it this afternoon. It is working great with my dummy smartphone with no SIM card.
I looked at the charts and noticed data from 12/6! Apparently I lost the first unit within 30 minutes of going outside. It must be at the bottom of my pond. Oh well.

I think this is well worth the price.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Fitbit or a different kind? Either way, glad you like it – I also really like mine and think it’s extremely handy.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I bought the exact same model as the one I lost: Striiv Band.
And thanks to te suggestions above I feel data is secure. – There aren’t any on this phone.

LuckyGuy's avatar

In case anyone is still following this…

After breakfast I went out to the orchard for a quick, but exhausting, 15 minute workout on my slackline. When I came back inside to check how it read that activity – it was gone! Again! This time I found it easily. The attachment band is junk. From now on I will wear it underneath a stretchy wrist band to prevent loss. I might try using a zip tie to secure it better.

jca's avatar

Just out of curiosity I checked Amazon to see what the band is, because I’ve never heard of it before today.

LuckyGuy's avatar

After using this for 4 days I cannot recommend it. It has locked up twice requiring a hard reset losing data for 2 separate days. I got one good, solid day of useful data out of it.

Wat did I learn:
I have learned that I am pretty active.
I confirmed that walking a mile is about 120 calories.
I easily do 12000 steps in a day.
I easily do 4 miles per day
I learned that certain apps are horrifically invasive and intrusive – and most of us foolishly “give it up”.to anyone who asks. .
I learned that the Striiv Band is junk as many people have stated in honest reviews. .

I will go back to a standard counter that is not connected anywhere. .

LuckyGuy's avatar

But first I will do a comparison.
The engineer in me will not allow me give up.

LuckyGuy's avatar

News flash! I found the first unit and downloaded the data. It has been dutifully working all this time – 10 days without a recharge! Apparently I lost it right away as it only recorded about 600 steps. When I picked it up off the ground it woke up and immediately admonished me for not reaching my daily steps goal. I did not fling it into the pond.

LadyMarissa's avatar

It’s so they can sell your private info to anyone willing to buy it aka your health insurance provider, potential employer, etc.
You need to decide what is more important to you…your privacy or the service the app provides. If it feels invasive, I don’t install or uninstall immediately. Although not as convenient, there are numerous ways to check your vitals yourself

@ARE_you_kidding_me It’s NOT just an Android problem, Facebook has been doing it for years & people join there every day!!! I’m not a member of FB; however, I did make the mistake of visiting a business page to get more info on the company & I have received spam on the subject for the last 2 weeks. Now, I’m refusing to do business with companies that require I visit FB to get their info!!!

LuckyGuy's avatar

I found a work around. I made a second dummy profile on my android phone, including a dummy email address and profile. I loaded the Striiv app on that profile only. This trick works great.
When I want to use the striiv I switch, otherwise it is not connected.

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