Fitbit wants you to buy your data back [EDIT: Not quite]

[EDIT: Thanks to Jeremiah Lee for setting the record straight: Despite the misleading info on the Fitbit Premium page, you can download your Fitbit data without the premium plan, although you can only do it one month at a time which is “due to current technical limitations” and “could be improved” according to Jeremiah.]

Since I started Google’s Data Liberation Front in 2007, I’ve stressed the fact that if a company stores your data for you, you shouldn’t have to pay extra to download your data from that company. It’s your data, you should be able to take a copy and leave at any time.

Even though I don’t have any plans to stop using Google products, I periodically use Google Takeout to get a snapshot of all the data I have in Google for backup purposes. I went to Takeout the other day to run my backup and was thrilled to find that quietly without warning, Google Fit data just magically appeared in Google Takeout. That means that, like the rest of my data that I keep in Google, I can download a copy of my Fit data anytime, for free, to do with as I please.

Since I know a lot of people that use Fitbit, I wandered over to their site to see what their Data Liberation story was. And it’s not good. You can get your data, but you’re damned well going to pay for it (and quite a premium, $49.99).

That means that if you’re using Fitbit, they think that your data is theirs to sell back to you. C’mon Fitbit, it’s 2016, get with the program.

Disclaimer: I worked at Google for many years and started The Data Liberation Front. I left Google to found Tock in 2014, but I still care very deeply about access to my data. You should too.