How to Lock Down Your Health and Fitness Data

Whether you're a Fitbit user worried about Google's recent $2.1 billion purchase of the company or just generally privacy conscious, you should pay attention to where your health and fitness data goes, and who has access. It's among the most sensitive data you have.While you unfortunately can't control where all of your health information goes—as a Google partnership with Ascension, the nation's second-largest health system, has unfortunately proved—you can still dedicate a few minutes to health data audit, making sure your calorie burns and step counts are completely private. Or if not, that they're only shared by choice.

It shouldn't take long, and it follows the same principles as any other data privacy audit: Check which data is being collected, which parts of it are public, and how many of your apps can access to it.

We can't cover every single fitness app out there, but these are the main players. If you're using something else, you should be able to use a similar process to check what information is being logged and how it's being used.

Apple HealthApple is very keen to emphasize how highly it prioritizes your privacy. Data in the Health app is encrypted both on your devices and on Apple's servers, and if you have two-factor authentication turned on for your account (which you should), not even Apple can look at the health logs you've built up.You can read Apple's privacy policy here but you should also read the privacy policies of the various services you link up with Apple Health. To see which apps are currently connected to Apple Health, open the app on your device, tap your avatar in the top right corner, then choose Apps under Privacy.
Note that the permissions on the next screen will be split up into write permissions—the app can add data to Apple Health—and read permissions, which means the the app can take and use data from Apple Health. You have the option to disable any permissions, to disconnect the app completely, and to fully delete all the data the app has collected—at least in terms of what has been shared with Apple Health.

Photograph: Apple

Speaking of deleting data, pick Devices from the previous menu, then choose a device from the list, and you can erase everything Apple Health holds on you with a couple of taps. You can also delete individual records, rather than everything at once, by selecting the individual categories listed.

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