Samsung Galaxy Watch

Garmin watches flagged by Mozilla as one of best for privacy, Samsung worst

In a Prime Day promotion, Mozilla has called out Samsung watches for privacy issues and recommends Garmin watches as one of the best on this count.


Privacy and security of data

Now this shouldn’t be confused with security. The two terms are similar but privacy is more to do with the way your data is used and if it is sold on to third parties. Security is about preventing unauthorised access. And most people will remember the 5 days of Garmin server outage due to a cyber attack last year. It’s kind of hard to forget…

Samsung watches do not really have a widespread reputation for being any worse than the competition when it comes to privacy issues. But Mozilla would beg to differ.

To remind, this is the non-profit organization behind the Firefox browser. They describe their mission as working to “ensure the internet remains a public resource that is open and accessible to all.”

samsung galaxy watch3 vs apple watch series 6 which is better - Garmin watches flagged by Mozilla as one of best for privacy, Samsung worst
Samsung Galaxy Watch3 | Image source: Samsung

Mozilla recommends avoiding these 3 products

On their Instagram page, Mozilla has added a post today on how to protect your privacy this Amazon Prime Day. It recommends avoiding three “creepy” products:

  1. The first on the Mozila list is the Echo Dot Smart Speaker. This is because it uses your info to bombard you with stuff to buy. The speaker also utilizes your voice requests to train Alexa’s speech recognition system.
  2. Next up are Ring doorbells and cameras. Ring experienced privacy issues in 2020 but still gives law enforcement access to video captured on their cameras without your explicit permission.
  3. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 tracks a lot of information. The main issue here is that Samsung may share your data with their business affiliates. This info can in turn be used to make predictions about your interests and fling targeted ads your way.

Good news for Garmin watch owners. Mozilla uses them as an example as one of the best companies when it comes to handling privacy No danger of Garmin using or selling your data for marketing purposes.

mozilla calls out samsung watches for privacy issues - Garmin watches flagged by Mozilla as one of best for privacy, Samsung worst


Mozilla has called out Samsung watches before

This is not the first time Mozilla has flagged privacy issues with Samsung watches. On its own website it did so in February last year.

The reason is unchanged. Despite all the health and fitness benefits of wearing the Galaxy Watch 3, Samsung collects and potentially sells your personal health data to consumer data resellers.

So let’s say the device on your wrist figures out you are not sleeping well and potentially have insomnia. Don’t be surprised if you see an advertisement or two with ads for sleeping pills on your Smart TV, for example.

Some 670 votes were cast on the Mozilla Foundation page on how users feel about privacy and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. Here’s the result.

mozilla calls out samsung watches for privacy issues - Garmin watches flagged by Mozilla as one of best for privacy, Samsung worst


Is this really true?

Check out the Samsung Ads Privacy Notice and you’ll notice that the fear may be justified. It’s worth noting – the Privacy Notice page doesn’t mention watches specifically.

“The Service provides Customized Ads by using unique, randomized, non-persistent, and resettable device identifiers, known as “Advertising ID” on Samsung mobile devices and “PSID” on Samsung Smart TVs.” it reads.

The company says info about you that is collected may be used to “provide you with Customized Ads about products and services tailored to your individual interests.” And adds that it may share the data with their “subsidiaries, affiliates, service providers, and business partners”.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

Samsung points out that you can opt out of Customized Ads. But that doing so “may not prevent the delivery of all advertisements from Samsung, including tailored advertisements provided by other Samsung services. ”

Super creepy or not creepy? You be the judge.

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