‘There’s nothing really they can do with this information’: unpacking how users manage privacy boundaries for personal fitness information

Michael Zimmer, Priya Kumar, Jessica Vitak, Yuting Liao, Katie Chamberlain Kritikos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Fitness trackers are an increasingly popular tool for tracking one’s health and physical activity. While research has evaluated how these mobile devices can improve health and well-being, few studies have empirically evaluated users’ privacy concerns that stem from the collection, aggregation, and sharing of personal fitness information (PFI). In this paper, we endeavor to gain a more complete picture of users’ experiences with fitness trackers and how they manage the privacy of personal fitness information. Using Communication Privacy Management (CPM) as a theoretical framework, we describe findings from survey and interview data regarding the benefits and drawbacks users perceive from using a fitness tracker, as well as how privacy concerns and behaviors map onto user strategies for managing privacy boundaries related to personal fitness information. We conclude by discussing how our findings contribute to theory and future information policy related to the growing wearable device ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1020-1037
Number of pages18
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jun 6 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

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