Monday, August 7, 2017

"Using a fitness app taught me the scary truth about why privacy settings are a feminist issue"

But recently, when using the social fitness tracking app Strava, I noticed a different kind of potential threat—one I wasn’t prepared for.

After I’d completed my usual 5-kilometer loop near my London flat, a stranger I didn’t know “liked” my workout—even though I had enabled stricter privacy settings, which I thought would shield my workouts from public view.


I soon learned that the first problem was my assumption that “Enhanced Privacy” on Strava meant that my data and running routes were viewable only to my approved followers. In fact, it means no such thing. Strava’s “Leaderboard” function ranks the pace of all athletes who complete the same Segment, or a set distance on a given route that has been mapped by a user and added onto the app. Though I had Enhanced Privacy on, I hadn’t enabled “Hide from Leaderboards,” which is a separate toggle on the privacy settings in the app.