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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.

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AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk.  

Click here for more...
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SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."