Smart or Distracting?
While many are rushing out to buy the latest upgrade of fitness trackers and “smart” watches, others are retiring them. Providing far more information than just the time people are finding this technology is distracting, pulling them into a virtually connected world and disconnecting them from the real physical world. There are also real health and security concerns with their use. While there are no scientific studies specifically on wearable wireless devices and links to cancer or other adverse health effects, this technology does operate with wireless frequencies commonly used with bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G and 4G signals. There is abundant research confirming that real risks do exists. Recent scientific research confirms biologic harm from the non-ionizing radiation from wireless devices, especially with long term use, thus precaution is indicated. See 2018 NTP Study and MDSafeTech Scientific Literature section.
Security and Privacy of Fitness Trackers
Security of wearable devices is a legitimate concern. Technology engineers have warned that they are easily hacked compromising health data and identity. The GPS tracking company Strava, uses satellite information to map the locations and travels of subscribers to the company’s fitness service, including those wearing Fitbit. These have been put on an interactive map. US Servicemen who wore Fitbits with the mobile app were able to be tracked on base. The U.S. Military revised its rules after sensitive data was revealed.
There are also emerging privacy and security issues. If you have wearable devices, there are ways reduce exposure by turning the wireless connection off if not needed, avoid wearing the device at night or for long periods and downloading your information infrequently.
- U.S. soldiers are revealing sensitive and dangerous information by jogging. January 29, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/a-map-showing-the-users-of-fitness-devices-lets-the-world-see-where-us-soldiers-are-and-what-they-are-doing/2018/01/28/86915662-0441-11e8-aa61-f3391373867e_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6ea4bf4aaeb0
- 10 things you need to know about the security risks of wearables. James Martin. CIO. March 28, 2017.
- Can Fitness Trackers Cause Cancer? Berkeley Wellness Newsletter. Sept 8, 2017. http://www.berkeleywellness.com/self-care/over-counter-products/article/can-fitness-trackers-cause-cancer
- Why I stopped wearing a smartwatch. JR Raphael. Dec 6, 2016. Computerworld. https://www.computerworld.com/article/3147429/wearables/why-i-stopped-wearing-a-smartwatch.html
- The Health Concerns in Wearable Tech. NYT. March 18, 2015.
- Experts: Why wearable tech could pose health risks. October 20, 2014. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/10/20/experts-why-wearable-tech-could-pose-health-risks.html
Fitbit Radiation Measurements
The radiation was measured from a Fitbit Tracker. Although this is not a certified reading it does give some idea of the amount of radiation emitted.