Move! F**k you!

So I asked here recently about buying a new FitBit.

We’ve all got opinions. Michelle just ditched hers. Tracy hates all forms of tracking. Other Tracy is on a FitBit holiday. Not me. In general, I’m a fan of tracking and of fitness tracking gadgets.

Unlike Michelle, I think it does influence my behavior positively. And I like the information. Unlike the the Tracys I never feel haunted by it. I seem to be able to pay attention when it’s useful and look away when it’s not.

But this time I didn’t buy another FitBit. I’m rough on things. I break them. And the durability reviews of the various FitBits weren’t great. For running (when I’m running, which isn’t often these days, I use a Garmin running watch) and for cycling, I’ve got a Garmin bike computer. So why not try a Garmin fitness tracker?

I opted for the inexpensive, small, Vivosmart 3. There’s no GPS but it does pretty much what my old FitBit did.

There is one exception that I might just have to turn off.

That’s the reminder to move.

The watch vibrates and displays the word “MOVE!” on the screen when you’ve sat still for too long. It did it during a recent concert, on a car trip yesterday, and while I was helping to install flooring on the 3rd floor of my house.

It turns out that’s just a bit too bossy for me. I kept wanting to explain myself to the watch. Yesterday in the car I actually swore at it. I said the words, the full words, that are in the title of this post. And I’m not a casual swearer.

I think maybe without the exclamation mark it would be okay. Maybe they should add a question mark, like a gentle invitation to consider moving.

How do you feel about being told to move by your watch? Like the reminder or find that steps over a line?

Fitness Data Spoofing?

Wow. Faking your FitBit data for insurance purposes. It had to happen. But so soon?

This actually touches a few of my research interests. I teach a class in ethics for a digital world and it certainly works as a case study there. Now that companies are giving bonuses to employees who track fitness and share the data, there’s an incentive for fraud. Maybe “fraud” is too harsh but “spoof” seems a tad light.

Here’s the company’s promo: “At Unfit Bits, we are investigating DIY fitness spoofing techniques to allow you to create walking datasets without actually having to share your personal data. These techniques help produce personal data to qualify you for insurance rewards even if you can’t afford a high exercise lifestyle. ”

UNFIT BITS

Free your fitness data from yourself.
Earn insurance discounts!
A guide to fitness tracker solutions.

“Does your lifestyle prevent you from qualifying for insurance discounts?
Do you lack sufficient time for exercise or have limited access to sports facilities?
Maybe you just want to keep your personal data private without having to pay higher insurance premiums for the privilege?

Fitbit Spoofing provides solutions. At Unfit Bits, we are investigating DIY fitness spoofing techniques to allow you to create walking datasets without actually having to share your personal data. These techniques help produce personal data to qualify you for insurance rewards even if you can’t afford a high exercise lifestyle.

Our team of experts are undertaking an in-depth Fitbit Audit to better understand how the Fitbit and other trackers interpret data. With these simple techniques using everyday devices from your home, we show you how to spoof your walking data so that you too can qualify for the best discounts.

Free your fitness. Free yourself. Earn Rewards.”

Now the site’s main purpose seems to be education about data privacy.The solutions are pretty low tech and mechanical. No digital hacking here.

There’s also a good further reading list.

It’s worth having a look to see the bike in “motion.” Wonder if it could get some Strava QOMs while it’s at it? That would definitely count as Strava doping!