Sleep trackers track your nights


Halo Rise and Other Tech to Track Your Nights

January 4th, 2023

They’re tracking your days. Now they want to track your nights, too.

At bedtime, the last thing you should have to think about is a large, multinational corporation bent on keeping track of your activity while you slumber. But in this era of permanent connection, in which personal data is the new currency, surveillance is a round-the-clock concern.

Amazon’s Halo Rise is the latest effort to collect and monetize information about you. It’s an alarm clock, a sleep tracker, and a tool with the potential to invade your privacy, gathering and making off with intimate information about you without your even being aware of it.

How does the Halo Rise work? It’s a small device that sits on your bedside table. The sensors keep track of such details as humidity, room temperature, and whether lights are on or if it’s dark. But the Halo Rise is also tracking more personal information, such as your breathing and body movements, according to a report from Mozilla.

The device’s sensors (not cameras or microphones) detect your breathing and activity, to help it measure the duration and quality of your sleep. It can tell if you are sleeping alone or with someone. If it’s monitoring breathing and body movements, it can, presumably, learn a lot about your and your partner’s nighttime activities.

As for potential risks, Amazon said it will not sell your private details to other companies. But Amazon itself is a major consumer of people’s data, to support its efforts to sell you more things. It’s an economy unto itself. It doesn’t need to sell your information to anyone; it can use it for its own ends.

As Mozilla notes, while the online retailer isn’t selling your personal information outright, it is “in the business of selling access to your information to others to target ads to sell you more stuff.”

The rise of companies marketing such devices raises the question, why should you let any of them know everything about your sleep patterns? Some people suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia and need help in addressing those problems. But that’s not a reason to give up all your information to a company that wants to know everything possible about you.

Big Tech already tracks your days. Now they want to track your nights too. The advent of devices such as the Halo Rise and other sleep trackers underscores just how important it is to carefully examine the technology that your family uses on a daily (or nightly!) basis. 

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