Garmin Index Smart Scale
Review date: Nov. 9, 2022
Let's be honest, tracking all those steps with a fitness wearable is nice. Seeing the benefits of all those steps when you take that step onto the scale is much nicer. Garmin's Index Smart Scale gives you a way to bring all those metrics -- weight, body mass index, body fat, skeletal muscle mass and more -- together. Pair up this WiFi and Bluetooth connected scale with the same app your Garmin fitness tracker uses -- the Garmin Connect app -- and you've got all your fitness and body info right there in one place. And best of all, Garmin looks pretty good from a privacy perspective. Now get stepping.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
Here’s what this privacy researcher likes about Garmin. Yes, they do collect a good bit of personal information through the device and on the Garmin Connect app because that’s what a fitness tracking smartwatch does. They collect data like email address, device information, location, and all that body related data like physical activity, stress, sleep patterns, heat rate, pulse ox, and more. The good thing is, yes, they collect it, but they also seem to protect it.
Garmin also seems to do a pretty good job securing the personal information they collect. However, they did suffer that very public ransomware attack in 2020. Ransomware attacks suck and it seems no company is safe from them these days. Good news though, no user data was actually compromised in that attack, so, once more, good work Garmin.
Is your intrepid privacy researcher happy with her decision to get a Garmin fitness tracker? Yes, she is. Although it does make her a little nervous that she now leaves her phone's Bluetooth on all the time. But hey, knowing that body battery score is really cool! What’s the worst that could happen with your Garmin Index Smart Scale? Well, hopefully nothing, but do beware if you link the data from your Garmin Connect app to other third party apps like Strave or MyFitnessPal. Those apps come with their own privacy policies and every time you share your personal information with someone else you increase the vulnerability of that personal information.
Tips to protect yourself
- Be very careful who you choose to share your Garmin wellness data with.
- Adjust your privacy settings in the Garmin Connect app to suit your comfort level.
- Don't connect your Garmin app to any social networks like Facebook, WeChat, etc.
- When you no longer use the app, go to "Delete account" in the app menu.
- Turn off precise location sharing!
- Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images and videos).
- Keep your app regularly updated.
- Limit ad tracking via your device (eg on iPhone go to Privacy -> Advertising -> Limit ad tracking) and biggest ad networks (for Google, go to Google account and turn off ad personalization).
- Do not sign up with third-party accounts. Better just log in with email and strong password.
- Chose a strong password! You may use a password control tool like 1Password, KeePass etc.
- Request your data be deleted once you stop using the app. Simply deleting an app from your device usually does not erase your personal data.
- When starting a sign-up, do not agree to tracking of your data if possible.
Can it snoop on me?
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, email address, gender (optional), age (optional), date of birth (optional), photos (optional), location
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?
They did suffer that very public ransomware attack in 2020. No user data was compromised during this attack.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Garmin has an easy to find list of all privacy policies. The privacy policies are relatively simple to read.
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Garmin devices and apps use a combination of asymmetric and symmetric encryption appropriate to the nature and function of the product, and data stored/transmitted.
In order to use companion apps, an account with a strong password is required.
Garmin uses Machine Learning (ML) to provide personalized insights to customers who wish to receive them as they pursue their fitness and wellness goals.
Is this AI untrustworthy?
What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?
Is the company transparent about how the AI works?
Does the user have control over the AI features?
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