Privacy complaint for fitness wristband makers

Jogger Image copyright imacoconut
Image caption Users have little control over the data gathered by activity wristbands, claims Norway's consumer watchdog

Norway's consumer watchdog has filed a formal complaint about the privacy policies of four fitness wristband companies.

Norway's Consumer Council (NCC) said Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and Mio had broken local laws governing the handling of consumer data.

It said all four gathered too much data, did not say who saw it and failed to say how long it would be kept.

The complaint has been lodged with Norway's data protection authority.

Basic rights

The wristbands may help people monitor fitness activities, but anyone who used them gave up data on "asymmetrical and obscure terms", said Finn Myrstad, director of digital services at the NCC, in a statement.

"We fear that this information can be exploited for direct marketing and price-discrimination purposes, and that basic privacy principles are being neglected," he said.

The complaint came out of a research project carried out by the council, into the terms and conditions used by the four wristband makers.

This revealed that users of the wristbands had little access to the information gathered about them, who saw it and how it was used.

"It is important that we don't give up basic rights in order to use the products and services of the future," said Mr Myrstad.

The BBC has asked the four companies named in the complaint for comment.

In a statement, Jawbone said it was reviewing the NCC report.

"We want to reassure our users and let them know that we only share their data if they ask us to - for example to integrate with a third party app," it said.

A spokesman said Jawbone was a "custodian" of users' data and sought permission to share it.

Users could also download their data and take it elsewhere, he said.

And requests to delete data would be honoured.

More on this story