MyFitnessPal Might Not Be My Pal

By KellieAnn Halvorsen

I choose to evaluate the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for “MyFitnessPal, Inc” believing that it would be somewhat shorter and easier to understand then more popular social sites like Facebook or Twitter. However I was disappointed to see the length and complexity of the contract found at http://www.myfitnesspal.com/account/terms_and_privacy?with_layout=true#privacy.

For the most part it sounds like MyFitnessPal tries to keep some personal information such as contact information private, but they do share anonymized data to third parties. Information like demographic data, mobile data and fitness data is shared with marketing partners, advertisers, researchers and to a limited extent to other users. They also state that they can, “discloses Personal Information when required to do so by law, or in response to a subpoena or court order, or when MyFitnessPal believes in its sole discretion that disclosure is reasonably necessary to protect the property or rights of MyFitnessPal, third-parties or the public at large.” They also reserve the right to share personal information if the someone else purchases the company or they go bankrupt. That the companies who buy the information then would have the right to alter current agreements and share information as they see fit.

I read through the whole document and couldn’t find any statement about what plans the company hopes to take if there is a breach of security. All in all this makes me nervous, not from a financial point,because this is a free service and credit cards are not held on file. Not necessarily because it has my contact information such as my name and email, that is already out there pretty broadly in the either and I have gotten use to the idea. But what makes me nervous is the  other private information on this website. They know how much I weight, how little I exercise and even how many candy bars I ate on the really bad day last summer, this is all information that I would like to be insured is safe and secure forever.

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