Samsung Galaxy Watch4

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Samsung Galaxy Watch4

Samsung
Wi-Fi Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy

This stylish, smart fitness watch watches you a lot. It will track your heart with an ECG to see if you have signs of Atrial Fibrillation. It monitors the amount of oxygen in your blood. It can even monitor to see if you've fallen and can't get up. All that plus a built-in running coach, Samsung Pay, and all the standard tracking of sleep, stress, steps, calories and more. Just beware, Samsung may share or sell personal information like your gender or location data to data brokers unless you go through the tricky process to opt out. This adds a whole new meaning to their slogan, "A watch that's watching out for you."

What could happen if something goes wrong?

This device tracks your location, heart rate, sleep patterns, stress and more. That's a lot of personal information gathered in one place. And not gonna lie, it sure seems Samsung likes to collect a lot of personal data on users, share (and possibly sell) that data around lots of places, and make it hard for you to figure out how to opt-out of that data sharing. And while Samsung doesn't seem to sell your healthy data they collect from this watch, they do say they can combine this with other you provide or they collect to send you personalized content. This likely isn't terrible, however, it is a lot of very personal health data they are using.

Your dogged privacy researcher spent quite a lot of time on Samsung’s website trying to understand how to opt-out under their “Do Not Sell” option as part of California’s privacy law called CCPA. It was clunky and complicated and she was never quite clear if she succeeded or not. Samsung does extend the rights that protect users under CCPA to all of the United States, which is good. And Samsung users in Europe are protected by their privacy protection law, GDPR, to a degree.

What could go wrong? Well, Samsung likes to show ads tailored to you through various ad networks, and say they do a lot of tracking of your online activities to do so. That means it's possible you could have crazy insomnia and sleep terribly for a couple months, which your Galaxy Watch knows. Samsung could then target you content about how to sleep better, which just stresses you out and makes you sleep worse. OK, this is probably not likely. But it’s also not impossible.

Tips to protect yourself

  • Be very careful who you chose to share your wellness data with.
  • Don't connect your app to any social networks like Facebook.
  • Set up a security lock
mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: No

Microphone

Device: Yes

App: No

Tracks location

Device: Yes

App: Yes

What can be used to sign up?

What data does the company collect?

How does the company use this data?

Samsung may share your personal information with their subsidiaries, affiliates and service providers. This includes consumer data resellers and social networks. For business purposes, it may have shared your personal data and geolocation. It may have sold other personal information such as personal identifiers, products purchased, and browsing history, prior to October 1, 2021.

Samsung participates in various advertising networks and say, "These networks can track users’ online activities over time by collecting information through automated means, including through the use of browser cookies, web beacons, pixels, device identifiers, server logs, and other similar technologies." The networks use this information to show ads that may be tailored to individuals’ interests, to track users’ browsers or devices across multiple websites and apps, and to build a profile of users’ online browsing and app usage activities.

How can you control your data?

No retention details nor deletion rights are stated for users not covered by CCPA and GDPR in Samsung's privacy policy. CCPA deletion rights are mentioned and Samsung says they extend CCPA rights to all in the United States.

If you do not have a Samsung Account or an email on file, your deletion request will not be processed. Users with a Samsung Account can go here to delete your data.

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

Average

In February, 2020, Samsung had a data breach on it UK customer account pages, affecting less than 150 people.

Can this product be used offline?

Yes

User-friendly privacy information?

No

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Uses encryption in transit and at rest.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

Yes

If a user uses Bixby, a Samsung-specific AI-assistant, or Google Assistant.

Is this AI untrustworthy?

Can’t Determine

What kind of decisions does the AI make about you or for you?

Voice recognition, if a user uses Bixby, a Samsung-specific AI-assistant, or Google Assistant.

Is the company transparent about how the AI works?

Yes

Does the user have control over the AI features?

Yes


News

Knowing your privacy rights
Samsung
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is the law that provides privacy rights to consumer. At Samsung, we extend CCPA privacy rights to all US residents.
Samsung cops to data leak after unsolicited '1/1' Find my Mobile push notification
The Register
Samsung has admitted that what it calls a "small number" of users could indeed read other people's personal data following last week's unexplained Find my Mobile notification.

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