The University of Washington School of Computer Science and Engineering recently proved that the new Nike/iPod Sport Kit can be used in covert surveillance activities. In an article titled Devices That Tell On You: The Nike+iPod Sport Kit the author shows that with a little know how and ingenuity the Nike foot pod can be used for surveillance – even without the iPod in use.
The article quickly outlines what the technology is, how it works and what could have been done to prevent malicious use. However, the authors quickly point out the following:
We stress, however, that there is no evidence that Apple or Nike intended for these devices to be used in any malicious manner. Additionally, neither Apple nor Nike endorsed this study.
In the end, I don’t think this is really a big issue. The concept and thought behind the study is important, security in technology is something we all need to pay more attention to. But, the range of the foot pod is 60 feet – not very far. Plus, the foot pod does not contain any personal information – no name, social security number, or birth date. Nothing really helpful. I guess you could be easily tracked going in and out of doors or locations, but even that provides no real personal information. The government will not be tracking your exercise from an illicit satellite in constant orbit over your home town. Also, if you see someone with a black wand like device following you around scanning your feet, be wary.
Bottom-line, simple security precautions eliminate any issues. Turn off the foot pod when not in use for running. Or take it out of your shoe all together. It can’t be tracked if it’s not there.