Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Pet trackers gather more data about owners than pets - study
Researchers analysed the data captured by 19 wearable devices that are currently available to consumers.

Devices may lead owners into a false sense of security  

Pet wearable devices gather more data about owners rather than pets, according to new research.

A study by the Bristol Cyber Security Group found that wearables do not always acknowledge the privacy implications for humans and their data and that they could be used to build personal profiles on pet owners.

The research was carried out by researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Haifa, Israel, and peer-reviewed in the journal IEEE Security & Privacy.

“The consumer’s desire to provide the best care for their pets combined with the marketing of the device may lull them into a false sense of security,” said lead researcher Dr Dirk van der Linden. “It is the owner who is the actual user of the product, and the data collected from the pet wearable has privacy implications for the humans.”


He continued: “Access to pet activity data could be used to build profiles on pet owners, with implications ranging from burglars knowing when to approach a home, to insurance companies inferring health profiles of pet owners via their dog’s activity.”


In the study, researchers analysed the data captured by 19 wearable devices that are currently available to consumers. They found that data gathered on the pet owner is four times higher than that of their pet. There also appeared to be a lack of clarity on the type of data that is stored.

The researchers also found that just six out of the 19 devices are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Furthermore, there was a clear discrepancy between the marketing of the devices and the data captured. Seven of the 19 devices tested had a location tracking function but did not detail any location in their privacy policy.


The paper calls for clearer marketing of the devices and explicitly marking pet activity data as personal data to ensure more transparency for users.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Zoo animals step on the scales for annual weigh-in

News Story 1
 Squirrel monkeys, penguins and meerkats are just some of the animals that stepped on the scales on Thursday (22 August) for the start of ZSL London Zoo’s annual weigh-in.

The annual event gives keepers a chance to check the animals in their care are healthy, eating well and growing at the correct weight. Keepers say that a growing waistline can also help them to detect pregnancies, which is vital as many of the species at the zoo are endangered.

The data is then added to a database shared with zoos and conservationists across the globe. This helps keepers to compare information and provide better care for the species they are fighting to protect.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.