Fitness Tracker Data Exposes US Military Bases

Adjust Comment Print

Unfortunately, it also may have given away the exact location of USA military bases.

Strava is a platform for sharing exercise data with like-minded people across the world, and calls itself "the social network for athletes".

Much of the data is likely to have been uploaded from Fitbit devices, which military personnel are encouraged to use as part of a fitness regime.

In a post about the newly-updated global heat map last November, the fitness tracking company Strava said the update would include "six times more data than before - in total one billion activities from all Strava data through September 2017".

Twenty-year-old university student Nathan Ruser stumbled across the map on a blog and was inspired to look more closely after his dad reportedly offered that the map gave a snapshot of "where rich white people are" in the world.

In Iraq, for instance, the sparse data accumulated by Strava appears to be concentrated around well-known military bases.

In less developed regions, such as the Middle East, American and other foreign military installations tend to light up like Christmas trees on Strava's new map.

Rep. Joe Kennedy to Deliver Dem Response to Trump's SOTU
Developments in the special counsel probe into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election also often overshadow his plans. Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director, is sure to be a key player in that effort.

"We are committed to helping people better understand our settings to give them control over what they share", said Strava in a statement. "It excludes activities that have been marked as private and user-defined privacy zones", the statement said. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.

According to a report by The Guardian, military analysts noticed that the data visualization map was potentially revealing sensitive data about military personnel on service. "Big opsec and persec fail", tweeted Nick Waters, a former British Army officer who pinpointed the location of his former base in Afghanistan using the map.

In light of this, the United States military will be reviewing its guidelines regarding the use of wireless and tech devices, according to The Washington Post. "You can establish a pattern of life", he said. Central Command has said they are looking into the matter.

"These apps can track your location, and very often these companies are disclosing sensitive location information to third parties without users knowledge or consent", said Lester.

The heatmap also appears to highlight RAF Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands and a base used by French soliders in Niger.

But among the three million Global Positioning System data points released are military bases in Afghanistan and Syria.