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Fitness tracking map accidentally leaks U.S. government secrets
A heat map showing activity of people around the world using fitness-tracking technology has revealed sensitive information about the location of military bases, according to new reports.
Strava, a GPS tracking company, released a “Global Heat Map” that shows hotspots of fitness tracking across the world. The map, which went live in November 2017, shows activity uploaded to Strava over a two-year period.
While places like the United States and Europe are full of activity, areas such as Iraq and Syria have much less—and zooming in on the map may have given away the location of sensitive military bases, the Washington Post reports.
Here are some FOBs in Afghanistan. pic.twitter.com/JoB7hKHwyh— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) January 27, 2018
If soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially dangerous. This particular track looks like it logs a regular jogging route. I shouldn't be able to establish any Pattern of life info from this far away pic.twitter.com/Rf5mpAKme2— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) January 27, 2018
As a result, military operations against the so-called Islamic State said they are revising guidelines on wireless technologies at facilities.
“The rapid development of new and innovative information technologies enhances the quality of our lives but also poses potential challenges to operational security and force protection,” the Central Command press office in Kuwait told the news outlet. “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.”
While the map shows many known military bases—such as Kandahar air base in Afghanistan—information can also be gleaned about routine movements by soldiers or activity inside the bases.
Strava told the news outlet they are “committed to working with military and government officials to address sensitive areas that might appear.”
You can read more about the possible breach in security here.
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).