Nike+ FuelBand: One Big Security Hole For Your Life

Exercise is important, there's no disputing that. It's especially critical if, like us, you spend hours each day plopped in front of a computer screen hammering out hardware reviews, TPS reports, or whatever. Activity is key to a healthy lifestyle, but how do you know if you're doing enough? In the old days, a mirror and scale would keep track of your progress. And today? Healthy living monitor gadgets like the Nike+ FuelBand are finding an audience among the health nuts, nouveau techno-geeks, and the upwardly connected set. But what you may not realize is that, as cool as these gadgets purport to be, you may be signing up for more than you bargained for.

That's certainly the case with the Nike+ FuelBand, a $149 wristband with LED display that tracks your daily activity, tells you how many calories you've burned, lets you know how much fuel you have left in the tank (seriously), and basically keeps track of "every move you make." If you think that sounds like a privacy nightmare waiting to happen, it pretty much is.

Nike+ Fuelband

We were discussing the product with a source directly connected to Nike and he told us an amusing, albeit startling anecdote about a guy who got caught cheating on his girlfriend because of the Nike+ FuelBand.

"They shared their activity between each other and she noticed he was active at 1-2AM, when he was supposed to be home," our source told us.

Nike+ FuelBand App

Fuelband Share
Nike+ FuelBand App - Share your activity with friends, just make sure you want them to see it all...

Now, we don't condone infidelity, and it's tough to feel sympathy for a guy who gets caught cheating on his girlfriend, but the method in which he was busted is what we find concerning. Maybe it's the tinfoil hat we're testing that has our mind racing in all directions, but how can anyone be sure Nike isn't using this wristband, which users sync to the Nike+ FuelBand app for iOS or Android, to gather information on them?

That's just one scenario. What if the wristband gets lost or stolen? How much data is actually stored on these sorts of devices?  Could it be used to lead a bad guy right to your front door?

Maybe our concerns are farfetched and the good these devices provide outweighs the potential bad. Or maybe, like the boyfriend in our story above, the audience for these types of devices has to learn hard way that there are potential downsides to having your every move tracked.