FAQ – Privacy and Security
Is my wind data encrytped?
Yes. We build in methods to obstruct hackers, and so that in a race, no-one can accidentally receive or even hijack another boat’s data. For example, the Wind Instrument is not visible in Bluetooth settings (e.g. in a marina), until after you make the connection. It will only connect to one mobile device at once. You can give your unit a private name, so you know you are connecting to your own device. The transmissions from the masthead are encrypted. Also, the data is encrypted within the tablet or smartphone, between the API and a chartplotter app.
Is a cellular connection and sim card required, to use the Wind Instrument or API? I am concerned about external monitoring of my cellular data by governments, and by major media companies and search engines that attempt to learn everything about me for advertising.
No sim card or internet connection is required, for using the Wind Instrument. You can use the Wind Instrument with Bluetooth 4 on a tablet or smartphone without a sim card. A good example of this is that the iPad comes in a wifi version that does not have GPS or cellular data — but you can get the cellular version of the iPad without a sim card, to have GPS and Bluetooth 4 for receiving wind data and using a chartplotter app.
On the other hand, you do need a cellular connection if you want to use our crowd-sourced data from SailTimerMaps.com.
Is the Wind Instrument sending data that I didn't authorize?
No, it is not. We are very careful about privacy. The Wind Instrument uses Bluetooth 4, the same as a wireless keyboard. It has a lot of security built in, to protect privacy, and also to ensure that wind data from one boat isn’t accidentally received on a different boat.
There is one option for sharing (crowd-sourcing), that allows users to optionally view and share live wind conditions from multiple Wind Instruments. This is optional, and you can turn it on or off with the Share button in the API. We want to give you the option to contribute to live wind maps, and want to allow regattas to be able to save and replay races and wind conditions for performance analysis. For races, you are able to save that data if you want while also specifying whether the data should be public, private for you or private only for other boats in the race.
Bottom line: we respect user privacy. The Wind Instrument really just uses Bluetooth 4 like like a wireless keyboard; your data can be sent straight to your own device, and nowhere else, if you want. It is very private, securely encrypted and un-trackable.
Yet crowd-sourcing live wind conditions could be much better than a weather report made hours ago. So we also provide the option for users who want to share live wind conditions with those around them, for the good of all.