Review date: Nov. 8, 2021
If you want to helicopter parent your canine child, this is the product for you! This little bone-shaped tracking device goes on your dog's collar and will track her just about anywhere in the United States (sorry world, it only works in the US) over Verizon's cellular network with a monthly or yearly subscription. It also connect to WiFi to let you know when you pup enters or exits places you designate as safe. It monitors your dog's activity, sleep habits, scratching habits, and stress 24/7. Link it up with your FitBit, Google Fit, or Apple HealthKit apps and you will always know just what's going on with you doggo, whether she wants you to or not.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
One sure fire way to make a privacy researcher grumpy is to sign them up to your email list without consent when they email you to ask questions about privacy. This is what they did to us every time we sent them an email with questions. Bad form, Fitbark, bad form.
More bad form comes in all the data Fitbark seems to collect on their users, both human and canine. They collect personal information on you such as name, email, physical address, birthday, phone number, and more. They collect your dog’s health, location and behavioral information too. They also say they collect data when you link your human fitness tracker and data about you from other companies related to their brands. All in all, it seems they try to collect a lot of data. And in Fitbark’s own words, they use all that data to “sell you stuff.” Finally, Fitbark may use anonymized data for marketing and promotional use, and for sale to third parties. This is a good time to point out that many privacy researchers claim it can be relatively easy to de-anonymize such data, especially location data.
This GPS version of the Fitbark tracks your dog's movements and whereabouts using all the ways--Bluetooth. WiFi. and GPS. That's a lot of ways to track something and share them with a company that really seems to like your data a lot. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, it’s one thing to spy on your pup to keep them safe. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to spy on you and your pup to “sell you stuff” and then potentially sell that (hopefully) anonymized data that could be linked back to you through your location. We’ve seen bad things come out of that practice.
Tips to protect yourself
- Check out Fitbark's Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Dog's Privacy site for tips
Can it snoop on me?
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, email, phone number, address, date of birth, profile photo, location
Your dog's biometric data and health data
How does the company use this data?
How can you control your data?
What is the company’s known track record of protecting users’ data?
No known incidents in the last 3 years.
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
FitBark does require a password. For the FitBark app they don't require a unique strong password. For partner's clients they do have a way to recommend a strong password based on the partner requirements.
Fitbark does patch certain security aspects of their apps based on periodic penetration testing by a third-party firm.
Vulnerabilities are tracked and managed via an internal project management platform, and are addressed routinely by our developers. Fitbark does not offer a formal bounty program, but generally rewards those who report vulnerabilities with complimentary products or subscription offerings.
Buddy's Wearable Is Not Your Buddy: Privacy Implications of Pet WearablesDirk Van Der Linden, et al.
Foolproof Ways To Protect Your Dog's Digital PrivacyFitBark
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