Warning: *privacy not included with this product
Review date: 11/02/2020
Not gonna lie, this is the creepiest fitness tracker we've seen yet. Amazon's fitness band--there's no display, it's just a fitness tracking band packed full of sensors and microphones--tracks the usual: steps, heart rate, sleep, calories, and more. The Halo's microphones listen to you and use machine learning to measure the tone, energy, and positivity of your voice to " help strengthen communication." And that's not even the creepiest part! Amazon also asks you to take pictures of yourself in your underwear so it can measure and track your body fat. Yeah, no thanks. Giving Amazon a picture of yourself in your underwear sounds like a truly terrible idea, even if they claim it will automatically be deleted from the cloud after it is processed. It's nice they put a little note on the product page talking about how seriously they take your privacy. With everything this device collects, we sure hope that's true. This fitness tracker also requires a $4 a month subscription to access all features.
What could happen if something goes wrong
Amazon, you've done it. You've taken creepy to a whole new level with this tracking device. We're filing this under, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." The problem isn't that all the data this device collects is kept insecurely, Amazon does a good job securing your data. The problem is what Amazon can potentially use all this data for. While Amazon states that it does not use Halo health data for marketing, product recommendations, or advertising, the Halo is still collecting a lot of personal biometric information about you--including listening to what you say and measuring your tone. What can give you insights into your health, could also potentially give others information about things like your emotional state while you are looking at something, how attracted you are to someone, or even if you've been drinking. That's level of personal information is not something we want Amazon--or any other tech company--potentially knowing.
Can it snoop on me?
What is required to sign up?
Third party account
What data does it collect?
Name, email, phone number
Personal voice profile, body composition, heart rate, movement, sleep data, menstrual cycle, and more
How does it use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?
In October, 2020, Amazon fired an employee for leaking customer email addresses to an unnamed third party. In November, 2018, Amazon suffered a data breach that caused customer names and email addresses to be disclosed on its webpage. Additionally, since Halo is a brand new product that collects a lot of data in a sensitive category (health), we're flagging Amazon's track record of building the infrastructure for too much detailed data collection and surveillence that could be used by others for harm as a risk consumers should consider.
Can this product be used offline?
User friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Data is encrypted in transit and at rest.
Halo users create or choose a unique profile when they first use Halo. Customers must validate a one-time passcode whenever they log-in to the Halo app.
Amazon has a bug bounty program, which means that anyone who finds a security issue and discloses it responsibly may get paid. Security researchers can report a vulnerability here. https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201909140
Amazon has clearly thought through the mechanisms for protecting user data when using the Halo. Amazon created a video summary to explain how privacy works for the Amazon Halo. It has also made a whitepaper available about Halo Privacy 101. It must be noted, though, that Amazon doesn't address how inference data can be used.
Does the product use AI?
Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?
Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?
The purpose of the Amazon Halo is AI-powered health to track your wellness (body fat, activity levels, sleep, and tone of voice/emotions.) The AI will also rate your tone for “positivity” and “energy.” The model associates those emotional ratings with vocal qualities like pitch, intensity, tempo, and rhythm.