Warning: *privacy not included with this product
Getting outside to exercise can be hard. Which has made Peloton's connected exercise bike a must have for those who can afford the $1,450 - $2,500+ price tag. The networked bikes -- there is the Peloton Bike and Peloton Bike+ -- come with a 20+ inch touchscreen display that streams thousands of live or on-demand workouts. The Peloton app tracks your every drop of sweat to make sure you're burning enough calories for that creepy boyfriend (yeah Peloton, we haven't forgotten your creepy boyfriend ad!). Speaking of creepy, Peloton's privacy and security is kinda creepy too.
What could happen if something goes wrong?
Peloton became one of the go-to workout machines for those who could afford them during the pandemic. They’ve had a pretty rough go of it since though. In early 2023, they agreed to pay a $19 million civil penalty for a flaw that resulted in a 6-year old being killed in an accident on one of their treadmills back in 2021. Worse, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that Peloton was aware of “incidents associated with pull under and entrapment in the rear of the treadmills, including reports of injuries” before that design flaw ended in tragedy. The CPSC also said that company staff claimed Peloton continued to distribute the dangerous treadmills even after they recalled it. (If you have one of these machines, you can now request a safety guard from Peloton that will be available in early 2024.)
After the incident, Peloton did add additional safety features including a four-digit passcode to keep their treadmills from starting up for anyone without authorized access. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately they added a paywall too which meant unless you paid a subscription fee, your pricey Peloton could turn into an expensive towel rack. They did reverse that decision and unlock the “Just Ride,” “Just Run,” and “Just Walk” features plus a limited number of pre-recorded classes per month for “non-members.” But this issue of who owns and controls a connected device after purchase will almost certainly be a growing concern in the years ahead. Especially with a company like Peloton, which makes quite a lot of money off the content sold to users of their workout equipment.
And Peloton isn’t out of the woods yet regarding the safety of their machines. They had to issue another recall in mid-2023 for their bikes -- because the seat post can break or detach during use. As if spin classes needed to be any scarier.
Security-wise, there have been some blunders too. In early 2021, a bug in the Peloton system reportedly exposed personal user data on their servers, including gender, age, location, and more, to anyone on the internet. It appears to be fixed now, but what's not good is that it took Peloton more than three months -- and a call from a journalist -- to address the vulnerability, according to the security researcher who discovered the problem. Recently, in the summer of 2023, it was reported that Pelotons may still have a number of security issues that could allow bad actors to get access to sensitive information. Eesh.
What’s the worst that could happen? Well, a child dying is pretty much the worst thing that could happen. We hope nothing like that ever happens again. As for what's the worst things that could happen from a privacy perspective...well, we sure hope Peloton gets their security act together because their pricey bikes do come with cameras and microphones included and no one needs to hack into those and watch you grunting away during your workout.
Tips to protect yourself
- Opt out from sharing of your information with third parties for marketing purposes via the form
- Once you do not use a device any more, make sure to request deletion of all your data.
- 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
- Use your device privacy controls to limit access to your personal information via app (do not give access to your camera, microphone, images, location unless necessary)
- 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)
- 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.
What can be used to sign up?
What data does the company collect?
Name, mailing address (including zip code), billing address (including zip code), email, date of birth and phone number; Delivery information (including billing, shipping and delivery address); Geolocation.
Any additional information you choose to provide to enhance your use of the Services, including your weight, height, gender, general location, photo, picture, tags, image, avatar; Voiceprint, your Image or likeness; Information you provide in order to track your performance while using our Services, e.g. height, weight, heart rate (if a compatible heart rate monitor is connected).
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?
In July 2023, Check Point security experts unveiled vulnerabilities found in workout equipment made by Peloton. Exploiting these vulnerabilities could potentially grant threat actors access to user databases, exposing sensitive data of Peloton users.
Peloton had a reported security vulnerability in 2021 that may have leaked user privacy account data from their servers and apparently didn't fix it in a timely manner.
Child Privacy Information
Can this product be used offline?
User-friendly privacy information?
Peloton's privacy policies aren't the most difficult to read and understand that we've ever seen. We're still not sure we'd call them user-friendly though.
Links to privacy information
Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?
Peloton Bugs Expose Enterprise Networks to IoT AttacksDark Reading
Peloton Recalls Two Million Exercise Bikes Due to Fall and Injury HazardsUnited States Consumer Product Safety Commission
Peloton Agrees to Pay $19 Million Civil Penalty for Failure to Immediately Report Tread+ Treadmill Entrapment Hazards and for Distributing Recalled TreadmillsUnited States Consumer Product Safety Commission
Peloton’s leaky API let anyone grab riders’ private account dataTechCrunch
Peloton Recalls Tread+ Treadmills After One Child Died and More than 70 Incidents ReportedUnited States Consumer Product Safety Commission
Peloton is figuring out how to moderate extremist contentAxios
Peloton Studio Security BreachTom
Tour de Peloton: Exposed user dataPen Test Partners
Got a comment? Let us hear it.