Jogging soldiers appear to be revealing clandestine military bases.
Most civilian owners of Fitbits and other fitness-tracking apps may not consider the privacy implications of tacking on one more data-collecting device onto the growing list of electronic devices they might own. Unfortunately for some “secret” military installations, the U.S. armed forces may not have given the matter much thought either.
According to a recent Washington Post story, soldiers unwittingly shared sensitive data with the global public whenever they exercised using the Strava app. In November, the company released a map of its users running and biking routes all over the world. Dubbed a “Global Heatmap,” the dynamic graphic shows the amount of activity in a given locale. There’s little surprise that more densely populated areas feature more activity, but it was the activity in otherwise desolate parts of the world that had certain corners of the internet doing their own investigative work.
Strava released their global heatmap. 13 trillion GPS points from their users (turning off data sharing is an optio… https://t.co/NpFRM89EJ9— Nathan Ruser (@Nathan Ruser)1517077490.0
Not just US bases. Here is a Turkish patrol N of Manbij https://t.co/1aiJVHSMZp— Nathan Ruser (@Nathan Ruser)1517077555.0
You can see the Russian operating area in Khmeimim, but also the guard patrol to the NE. https://t.co/iWiX5Kozc1— Nathan Ruser (@Nathan Ruser)1517077689.0
Unsurprisingly, the United States-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State was quick to announce that it was reviewing its policies on the use of such technology. Responding to questions from the Washington Post, the group stated, “The Coalition is in the process of implementing refined guidance on privacy settings for wireless technologies and applications, and such technologies are forbidden at certain Coalition sites and during certain activities.”
It sounds like some deployed troops will be working out the old-fashioned way in the name of ensuring certain secret military sites remain secret.