Amazon Halo

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Amazon Halo

Amazon $64.99
Bluetooth

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.

Privacy

Can it snoop on me?

Camera

Device: No

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: Yes

Tracks Location

Device: No

App: Yes

What is required to sign up?

What data does it collect?

How does it use this data?

Body scan images are automatically deleted from the cloud after processing. Speech samples are processed on the customer's phone and automatically deleted after processing. Other than providing you with information about your body fat and your tone, we're not quite sure yet how Amazon will use this data. Amazon says that they do not use Amazon Halo health data for marketing, product recommendations, or advertising. Amazon does not sell Amazon Halo health data.

How can you control your data?

You can delete your Halo data in the Halo app. You can manually turn off the microphones on the Halo Band.

What is the company’s known track record for protecting users’ data?

Needs Improvement

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?

Yes

User friendly privacy information?

Yes

Links to privacy information

Security

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards?

Yes

Data is encrypted in transit and at rest.

Encryption

Yes

Data is encrypted in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

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.

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

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

Privacy policy

Yes

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.

Artificial Intelligence

Does the product use AI?

Yes

Does the AI use your personal data to make decisions about you?

Yes

Does the company allow users to see how the AI works?

No

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.

Company contact info

Phone Number

No

Email

No

Twitter

AmazonHelp

Updates

Amazon hit with major data breach days before Black Friday
Miles Brignall
Amazon has suffered a major data breach that caused customer names and email addresses to be disclosed on its website, just two days ahead of Black Friday.
Amazon Halo Band review: Creepy yet unobtrusive and useful for quantified self health data junkies
Larry Dignan
Amazon Halo Band is a fitness, mood, and wellness tracker that can be a bit creepy but may find its own niche with its unique spin on wearables and enterprise corporate wellness programs. I've been taking the Halo for a spin for the last three days and have now entered the obsessive quantified self disorder zone. I'm wearing my usual Garmin Fenix 6 on the left hand and Halo Band on the right.
Amazon Halo review
Kate Kozuch
I didn’t want to enjoy Amazon Halo. Its tone analysis feature seemed creepy and I dreaded the idea of a 3D body fat scan shaming me for the quarantine weight I’ve gained in my mid-area. But after testing this displayless fitness band, it’s not nearly as bad as I expected it would be. In fact, I kind of like it. But it’s also kind of... a lot.
A new tool to help you understand and improve your social wellbeing
Maulik Majmudar
Amazon Halo includes a tool that analyzes energy and positivity in a user's voice so they can understand how they sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships.

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