Viewpoint: Halo Band not ready for primetime – Amazon’s invasive wearable health tracker gets a poor review

Credit: Amazon
Credit: Amazon

You haven’t exercised or slept enough, reports Amazon’s $65 Halo Band. Your body has too much fat, the Halo’s app shows in a 3-D rendering of your near-naked body.

And even: Your tone of voice is “overbearing” or “irritated,” the Halo determines, after listening through its tiny microphone on your wrist.

We hope our tone is clear here: We don’t need this kind of criticism from a computer. The Halo collects the most intimate information we’ve seen from a consumer health gadget — and makes the absolute least use of it. This wearable is much better at helping Amazon gather data than at helping you get healthy and happy.

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The Halo privacy policy says Amazon won’t sell your data, share it without your explicit permission or use it to target you with sales pitches.

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But that still leaves open plenty of other ways for Amazon to profit from your information. In an anonymized way, it can data mine the heart rate, activity, sleep and tone patterns of Halo owners, using the information to tailor its health algorithms and learn about human bodies. Make no mistake: Disrupting medicine is the next goal for big tech.

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