OK this might be me being paranoid but I started playing with Garmin Connect last night and noticed a real issue with privacy and security with the service.
To start with, when you upload your ride data by default Garmin Connect shares your data with the world unless you specifically change the privacy settings. So all things being equal the average user wont give this a second thought and will leave the settings on public access. Furthermore even if you do change the default settings it wont change the settings for any rides you have already uploaded, you’ll have to go back and manually change the setting for each ride.
So what’s the problem I hear you say with sharing my ride data. In a word “profiling”. As an anonymous user I can go the Garmin Connect site, search on my area of interest and find riders in that area. All the following screen shots were taken without logging on to the service. Here are a couple of riders I have picked at random. As you can see it’s not going to be to hard to figure out where they live
From here I can zoom in on their activities and see when they are out riding, walking etc. From here I can quickly look for patterns as to when the user will be out of the house and for how long. As a thief this is wonderful news and I’m going to guess that if you have a Garmin your a reasonably keen cyclist and as such you’re probably going to have a couple of bikes (btw I can also find out what type of Garmin you have). So I know where you live, what time you go out and how long you will be out for, thank you the bike shop is open. As you can see from this user I just need to go around to their place on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I will have about an hour to do what I like.
I don’t mean to pick on Garmin Connect as I’m sure other services probably have the same issue but if you are going to use these services this is probably something you want to keep in mind.