Should We Be Worried About Privacy on Strava?

This afternoon I Googled myself, as I do from time to time.  You know, just to see what’s out there and to make sure no one is writing libelous things.  The first several hits were the usual — things related to my job and my race results — but then I saw a result that surprised me: there, third from the bottom was my full name and the words “Runner on Strava.”

For those of you who don’t use Strava, some brief background.  Strava is an app that uses GPS on your phone or other device to track activity such as biking or running.  With a premium account, I’m told you get all kinds of cool data and have the ability to set goals within the app.  Even with a free account, Strava will store your runs (including pace, distance, a map, elevation, splits, whether it was a “long run” or a “commute,” etc.) and data such as your weight.  Strava will talk to other apps like MyFitnessPal if you link them.  There is also a social element to it — you can connect with friends or post from the app on social media, and you can see how your pace over certain stretches compares to other runners’.

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I use a free Strava account to track my runs.  I’ve really, really enjoyed using the app and have been very impressed with its accuracy and data features.  I haven’t tapped into the social element: I only have one “follower” on Strava, and we do actually know each other in real life. Perhaps ignorantly, I always thought of Strava as having a ton of my data but being contained in the little app on my phone.  I never thought about whether I would have a Strava profile on the internet for all to see…

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