Whistle Switch

Warning: *privacy not included with this product

Whistle Switch

Mars, Incorporated
Wi-Fi Bluetooth

Review date: Nov. 8, 2021

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Mozilla says

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People voted: Super creepy

You want a dog collar that does it all. The Whistle Switch collar lets you track where your pup is while also monitoring his activity. It combines GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular tech to track your best friend at all times (only in North America, sorry rest of the world), alert you if he leaves a "safe area", and lets you know if he is getting enough exercise. It even monitors if your very good doggo is licking, scratching, or sleeping too much and offers access to tele-vets. It does require a monthly or yearly subscription to do all this. You'll love it. Your dog, eh, maybe he'll find it a bit creepy?

What could happen if something goes wrong?

Whistle seems to collect a good bit of information on their users, both human and canine, as far as we can tell. Their privacy policy is quite confusing though. The only privacy policy we could find mentions that it covers the website and apps, but makes no mention of if it covers devices too. So, we do our best to review what data we think they collect but because we couldn’t find clear information on what data the device collects, shares or sells, or uses, we’re not 100% sure we can tell exactly what Whistle does with all your data, but human and pet.

Whistle collects personal information on you such as age, gender, hobby or activities, taste or preferences, and geolocation data. They collect your information on your dog like your pups breed, birthday, treatment history, and location too. They also say they may get even more personal information on you from third parties, such as data brokers or social media platforms. And they say they use all this data they collect on your and your pet to do, among other things, targeted advertising. So if you visit one of those big box stores with your pup, that could mean lots of ads following you around afterwards. Finally, Whistle may sell or share anonymized data 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.

Another thing to consider, this device uses all the tracking and connection tech — GPS, cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth. That's a lot of connectivity. That could turn creepy if someone with bad intentions wanted to know more about you and your best friend too. Here’s hoping none of this data gets leaked on the internet where people could learn you and your dog are actually kinda lazy….or worse.


Tips to protect yourself

mobile Privacy warning Security A.I.

Can it snoop on me? information

Camera

Device: No

App: Yes

Microphone

Device: No

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?

Whistle says that the device tracks "pet’s health, fitness, gps location, and so much more." This privacy policy only applies to information collected by the app ("Whistle: Smart Pet Tracker") and other places your info is collected, like websites and social media. The data practices related to the device itself are unknown.

Per NYTimes article from September 2021, Whistle told journalists that they do not share customer or location data from the Whistle Go tracker or app. However, according to the Mars (parent company) privacy policy, Mars does collect and share data with third parties for targeted ads. This privacy policy only covers what the app ("Whistle: Smart Pet Tracker") collects, so the data practicies related to the device itself are unknown.

Mars says they can "get protected classification characteristics directly from you or from third parties, such as data brokers or social media platforms." That they get "geolocation data directly from you, indirectly from you (e.g., if you allow location services), and/or from third parties like social media platforms." Third-party service and advertising partners may also collect information automatically. In the app, they collect data on users such as age, gender, hobby or activities, taste or preferences. The app also collects data on pets such as your pet’s species, breed, birthday, or treatment history – which is not considered Personal Data. Mars may use demographic and preference information for advertising to target users for whom they are most relevant. Finally, Mars says, “We may sell anonymized data to third parties, and we may share anonymized or non-personally identifying information as described above. We may combine anonymized or de-identified information with other anonymized or de-identified information from other sources. We also may share aggregated and anonymized information with third parties, including for example advisors, advertisers, and investors, for general business analysis.”

How can you control your data?

You can ask to access or delete your data, collected through the app. But Mars will respond to any rights request in accordance with local legal regulations.
There is no mentioned way to delete data on your pet, as there is no privacy policy related to the device.

Whistle says that the device tracks "pet’s health, fitness, gps location, and so much more." There is no device-specific privacy policy, so we are unable to find out which of these data is transferred to the server, how it is shared/sold, and how it can be deleted.

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

Average

In 2018, security researchers discovered that the Whistle 3 tracker transmitted data to the server without any authentication. This means that anyone could substitute it, altering the coordinates in the process.

Can this product be used offline?

No

User-friendly privacy information?

No

No device-related privacy policy

Links to privacy information

Does this product meet our Minimum Security Standards? information

Yes

Encryption

Yes

Encrypts data in transit and at rest. Selectively encrypts sensitive payloads in accordance with Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth) standards.

Strong password

Yes

Security updates

Yes

Manages vulnerabilities

Yes

Whistle uses third party security services to perform routine security assessments at predefined intervals. It also utilizes its beta client pool to receive and address bugs.

Privacy policy

Yes

Does the product use AI? information

No


News

The Best GPS Dog Collars and Pet Trackers
New York Times
Pet owners can’t always account for indoor cats skedaddling outdoors or dogs hightailing it away from the dog walker. A GPS tracker attached to your pet’s collar can reunite you if they do escape into the unknown.

Comments

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