The largest manufacturers of fitness trackers and sports wearable electronics are on the verge of a scandal that looms a systemic crisis in the industry. The current concept of companies is to stimulate sales of gadgets and services by popularizing the sharing of personal data - other people's successes encourage people to take care of their physical shape. But, oddly enough, this poses a direct threat to national security and can cost brand leaders not only reputation, but also freedom.
Polar has recently stepped on the same rake as Strava - enthusiasts have used its fitness trackers to calculate the location of people who prefer to act in secret. Special agents, saboteurs, undercover officers, narrow-profile specialists must keep fit, for which they regularly train. And if such a person uses a fitness tracker, then through the Polar Flow platform, you can track his route on a real map. Compare with objects on the ground and get the key to finding a mysterious person.
Not all special agents hide under pseudonyms, many live in foreign business trips in hotels openly, they simply do not attract attention. Researchers have compiled a list of 6, 500 fitness tracker users in the Korean Demilitarized Zone and Baghdad who are affiliated with the CIA, the Pentagon, or military contractors. If someone has walked 10, 000 steps in a day, visited a military port, an embassy and a dinner party, he is clearly not the simple manager he wants to seem. And such information has a price on the black market.
Polar responded to the accusations that it has suspended a number of Flow service features that allow other users to see the results. Why the secret services cannot simply prohibit their agents from using "chatty" fitness trackers is still a mystery.
NSA Headquarters at Fort Meade