Garmin Connect Exposes Data


by David Schloss on Jun 10, 2010 at 7:20 AM

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In the trend of social-media-sites sharing people’s data, The Register is running an article that points out that the Garmin Connect website makes ride data public by default. What’s the big deal? Well potentially (since you don’t have to log in to see the rides posted on Garmin Connect) a burglar could look for people in their area who always ride at the same time, and burgle their house.

I’m not sure this is a really huge issue, after all most people are working during the day, so not really home anyhow, but it’s another good reminder that if you don’t want the world to know what you’re doing, don’t tell the ‘net. And check your privacy settings on any social tool you use before you start sharing data.

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I think these days it has to be buyer beware on the internet.  Seemed obvious to me when I first used Garmin Connect that the GPS data would be live, not sure why anybody would think anything different.

If somebody wants to burgle your house, surely the most effective way would be to wait around outside until everybody leaves and then break in.  Someone looking at Garmin Connect knows I cycle to work at roughly the same time every day, but they’ve no idea who else I live with and what they do.

People have been worrying about this problem in some form or another since at least 1977.

It’s like with Facebook or any other network the general knowledge that hey your data can get comprised isn’t there. When those people signed up for their iPads, they probably didn’t think their emails would get scraped by some hackers. I also use a pr0n alias email, especially on sites like or any bike event registry sites. Let alone the spam, you just can’t trust anyone with a personal email.

A plan exists in Australia to use this type of shared data for getting better bike infrastructure, called RiderLog:

Although this data isn’t public from what I can see:
“The data from RiderLog will be available to governments so they can get more people cycling more often.”