Big Data Collection and Bioanalytics

The state of modern privacy is something that many people may now much about. Most people assume that big tech companies know a lot about them, but just how much do they know?

I’ve been wearing an Apple Watch for 4 years. Part of the selling point is that the watch tracks your heart rate throughout the day, but it’s hard to imagine how much data this actually is. The Apple Watch takes a user’s heart rate every 5 minutes. Even while charging my Apple Watch at night, my watch has taken more than 200,000 readings of my heart rate. In addition to location data of every second of every workout that I have ever completed with the watch.

This may not seem like information that is vital to some people, but it does tell a lot about me.

Heres where we get into a field I don’t know a lot about…data science. Let’s start with a graph of my heart rate:

With +200,000 data points on a single graph, it gets a little chaotic. But it still shows us a few things.

  1. The outliers tell a lot about what I was doing at the time. I played sports through the summer of 2017, and after then, we see the high outlies begin to drop off. That is until about April of 2019 when a friend and I began to work out regularly.
  2. Apple Watches (or at least my unit) are almost incapable of producing a reading of 96 bpm. This is shown by the horizontal blue line amidst the almost solid yellow. This reading was achieved only 9 times over 4 years while readings of 95 bpm and 97 bpm were recorded 1,934 and 3,391 times.

Exploring it more also shows that even through my teenage years, my average heart rate remained fairly constant, despite the high outliers we see in the graph. Here are the numbers:

  • 2016 average is: 78.44114311635292
  • 2017 average is: 83.59643203564868
  • 2018 average is: 83.90214494547271
  • 2019 average is: 83.79818430758337
  • 2020 average is: 83.0027571228398

The 2016 average is a little lower because there was a lower number of readings. I got my Apple Watch for Christmas, so there is really only a week of readings.

This is just a small taste of data that various companies have on the general public. Apple posses these +200,000 readings of my heart rate, Spotify logs every song that I have played, down to the millisecond, and Google possesses more than 8 GB of data related to me. Data is power. Check out these links to see where companies have been tracking you:


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