Samsung Overall health: How self tracking trivialises our ethical worries

Regardless of whether it is about offering an app facts about your menstrual cycle, working with your personalised price reduction card at the community grocery store, checking how significantly time you devote on your mobile phone or how many steps you have taken, self-tracking has become heavily normalised. It has crept into the everyday gatherings of our life. We, without the need of question, supply our info to applications like that, although in convert, we can have an overview of our conduct or even our bodily state. Having said that, is it suitable to give up such information and facts to the firms who take care of these applications?

This essay examines the Samsung Wellness software and its positive aspects and down sides, using gamification, behaviour modification and surveillance capitalism. This will be finished utilizing a literature evaluate of former content articles posted on this challenge, together with an assessment of the software by itself and the privateness policy of this software.  

Background of Samsung Well being

Samsung Well being is a absolutely free software designed to keep track of diverse factors of every day life, like actual physical activity, meals use and rest. The app promises this can be completed to handle your well being and eventually develop a nutritious way of living (Samsung, 2022). At present, the application has over 1 billion downloads, considering that it is accessible not only for Samsung cell phone buyers but also on iPhones and other equipment.

There is a lack when it arrives to analysis on this specific application. There have been scientific studies on similar programs, like FitBit and applications that monitor your menstrual cycle (Olde Hampsink, 2021 Schabio, 2021). In these article content, there is a concentration on the workings of another specific software, which can not be generalised to just about every application monitoring a consumer’s each day life, and consequently can’t also be promptly in contrast to Samsung Wellbeing.

In addition, study has been carried out on the direct consequences of employing self-tracking health purposes and in which populace group self-tracking apps are a lot more likely to be made use of (Alturki, 2016 Muntaner-Mas et al., 2019 Régnier & Chauvel, 2018). There has hence been a major focus in academic study on bodily implications instead of ethical implications relating to privateness and details assortment.

Tracking, privateness and surveillance capitalism

Firstly, what is understood by the phrase privacy requirements to be clarified. There are quite a few views on what privateness truly implies. In this essay, Petronio’s Interaction Privateness Management (CPM) theory will be used, which states that privacy is manage in accessibility to oneself which in turn can be managed by opening and closing boundaries relying on privateness turbulence, like context or circumstance. (Petronio, 2013).

In purchase to comprehend why the Samsung Wellbeing application tracks one’s info, there will be a target on surveillance capitalism, so there wants to be proven what surveillance capitalism actually indicates. In accordance to Zuboff (2015), this is an ideology of datafication. This suggests that firms have organized a technique where by they can acquire as a lot information as possible from their people to then offer the info to other events for revenue. Surveillance capitalism revolves all over unique communicative acceptance which the customer liaises with the enterprise or 3rd parties to doc particulars for long run use or monitory,

In collecting the information of Samsung health consumers,  gamification and behaviour modification enjoy a substantial position. The notion of gamification refers to “a variety of provider packaging where a main provider is improved by a rules-centered services technique that provides comments and conversation mechanisms to the user to facilitate and guidance the users’ overall price generation” (Huotari & Hamari, 2011). Gamified apps consequently give providers like a reward program or development bars to affect the shopper so they keep on actively playing the ‘game.’ The idea of behaviour modification refers to “the method of switching designs of human behaviour around the lengthy phrase working with various motivational methods, generally outcomes (destructive reinforcement) and benefits (favourable reinforcement)” (Cocchimiglio, 2022).

To acquire the facts, there is an investigation into the Samsung Health and fitness software. This generally involves the privacy guidelines and terms & ailments 1 has to acknowledge right before use of the software. In addition, there will be a focus on the functions 1 can complete on the application by itself just after owning established up an account. These routines include the reward method, the With each other purpose and difficulties that Samsung presents to the customers of the Samsung Health and fitness application. This details will be linked to the over-outlined principle to assess ethical considerations eventually.

Monitoring in Samsung Overall health

The Samsung Wellness software has a lot of capabilities other health apps also give, like a step counter, which keeps keep track of of sleep and heart fee, but also delivers several distinctive features. 1 can decide on on the apps no matter whether they want to monitor the specific variety of athletics 1 techniques, with alternatives including archery, elliptical education and scuba diving (Samsung Wellness, 2022). Furthermore, 1 can monitor intricate information of their human body, such as overall body excess fat proportion, blood oxygen and snoring detection. Keep track of, Control, Make improvements to: Far better Overall health with S Health and fitness Application (Samsung, n.d.). This, nonetheless, can only be tracked when a Samsung look at is connected to the application. Samsung Health’s privacy policy states that “health- and wellness-relevant data” and “fitness and nutrition-connected information” will be gathered by them- Samsung Health (Samsung Health and fitness, 2022). The moment just one as a result utilizes a person of these functions, their facts will be gathered.

The Together operate of the Samsung Overall health application is exciting considering that one is not only obliged to agree to the details privacy policy ahead of usage, but also for the reason that the set-up of this operate is considerably diverse from the rest of the application. Whereas for other features, Samsung encourages to observe for one’s individual well being and way of living, for the Together function, Samsung encourages the players to engage in towards just about every other and rewards the customers for profitable the challenges established up for them.

The Alongside one another purpose is meant to play with other people today. You can find other folks by syncing up your application with your contacts, searching for usernames, and demanding random men and women. The challenge is all about going for walks far more measures a working day. Profitable a regular monthly challenge usually means successful prizes, levelling up and becoming topped as ‘boss’ in the software. The application is as a result heavily gamified. It offers instant comments about irrespective of whether what you are executing is proper or not, so you maintain on playing the activity in the proper way and over-all sense satisfied about your achievements and your self.

This notion consequently straight away ties into behaviour modification. Due to the fact your friends are participating in towards you and you can quickly assess your scores with players all all around the globe and even personally examine with your friends, you truly feel like you should really be far better than many others and thus change your conduct to occur out on best. This is the situation, according to the developers of the Samsung Well being application. According to them, “obstacle members acquire more than 22% extra measures a day than the common Samsung Health person” (Korea, 2021). 

Advantages for Customers & Samsung

A person of the additional clear constructive gains is the advancement of lifestyle the customers of the Samsung Wellbeing application working experience. The application leans alone for conduct modification, which, aside from making use of the application more, also means that they can conveniently appear into their day by day lives and adjust to get to their own targets. According to Hamari et al. (2014), gamification does, in the bulk of analysis, generate beneficial effects when it will come to conduct modification, in particular when users are inspired and involved in the gamified function, which in this circumstance, does correlate with Samsung Well being.

Also, Hamari et al. (2014) propose that gamification will make end users continue to keep the software, particularly when they have develop into extended-expression consumers, given that “removing gamification could possibly have harmful effects to those people consumers who are even now engaged by gamification, perhaps owing to loss aversion from dropping, e.g. acquired badges and points”. Therefore the instalment of the gamification aspect into the application retains a lot more consumers joined to Samsung, which is economically seen as a beneficial aspect of Samsung.

Shortcomings for Buyers & Samsung

The purpose gamification is economically advantageous to Samsung is since of its income model. In accordance to Samsung Health’s privacy plan, Samsung is not only authorized to gather individual info, wellness-linked knowledge, nourishment-related details, and info gathered from 3rd-social gathering units but is also permitted to share the information collected from these resources with affiliate marketers, organization associates and assistance companies (Samsung Wellness, 2022). This so features other Samsung Electronics Team providers and 3rd-get together applications which can be connected to Samsung Overall health. Samsung Wellbeing for that reason sells this facts, largely to 3rd-celebration small business associates like Google, TikTok and Instagram, for cash, so they can make income out of an software which is obtainable to the user. They consequently participate in surveillance capitalism.

The use of surveillance capitalism can have lots of implications for the shopper due to the fact the info can be seen as damaging or sensitive. Samsung is authorized to provide details like BMI, blood force level and menstrual cycle to third functions, which means that these third events could start out promotion according to your physical health and fitness. This can be delicate or damaging given that, from the info, companies could conclude someone is expecting, has a terminal ailment or is overweight, even though this information and facts might be untrue. Adverts for these users may therefore involve solutions like pounds reduction diet programs, medicines or solutions for a child, which can be remarkably insensitive, incorrect and even offensive.

Samsung moreover does not choose any responsibility for the incorrect information they not only exhibit the user but also market to third parties. They point out in their conditions in ailments that:

Any data you receive from Samsung Health may well not be acceptable, precise, full or reputable and that Samsung […] will not be held liable for any accidents, damages, losses and prices associated with Samsung Wellbeing, nor for the accuracy or dependability of any facts identified, acquired, or accessed via Samsung Well being. (Samsung Overall health, 2022)

They additionally assert that they are “not engaged in the follow of drugs and that Samsung does not determine the suitable professional medical use of Samsung Wellbeing.” They as a result do not seek out to increase their app’s correctness or set-up and anticipate the shoppers to study each and every line of the terms and circumstances to know that what Samsung Health offers could be hugely inaccurate data.

In addition, it does have to be described that though they promote own details, Samsung Health does not immediately intrude into their users’ privateness. Samsung Overall health people can select not to use sure features of the software, like the gamified Alongside one another operate or showcase their area, and consequently give up specified knowledge. It is in addition not mandatory to sync a third-celebration unit like a Samsung observe, which can observe more in-depth info like blood glucose level and human body excess fat. End users so can manage their accessibility to by themselves by closing these boundaries (Petronio, 2013).

Ethically acceptable?

Samsung Wellbeing features multiple varieties of self-tracking. Aside from a self-monitoring operate, customers can compete with other folks in the gamified With each other purpose. Customers gain from this app by owning the probability to boost their life-style. Samsung gains from the variety of people deciding on the platform and therefore makes a financial gain. This, nevertheless, is finished by using surveillance capitalism and so encounters a number of ethical concerns. The delicate details provided to Samsung can be marketed to 3rd events and as a result, inappropriate adverts can be proven indirectly simply because of the Samsung Wellbeing application. Moreover, this information might be incorrect, for which Samsung claims no responsibility.

End users do, nevertheless, select what they want to track and share in the Samsung Wellness software. This does not suggest customers know the penalties of what they share. On top of that, it is unidentified how the facts they receive is interpreted by companies and therefore introduced in the application and ads to them.

The likelihood of Samsung Wellbeing spreading mistaken data about their buyers and showing them improper details whilst not using duty would make them ethically seen as an inappropriate corporation. The likelihood that customers can increase their life-style is created irrelevant by their admitting that their application could be completely improper about the users’ development. 

More research can be finished on the effects of gamification on users’ motivation and engagement and the influence of attainable motion of tracking applications like Samsung Wellness to get a additional in-depth knowing of the user’s conduct and motivation of using self-monitoring of purposes based on lifestyle.


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