Fitness Tracker Map May Be Bad News for US Military

29 January, 2018, 11:05 | Author: Darren Santiago
  • Fitness Tracker Map May Be Bad News for US Military

The map, released in November 2017, shows every single activity ever uploaded to Strava - more than 3 trillion individual Global Positioning System data points, according to the company.

An interactive map found online can show the locations and activities of people who use fitness devices such as Fitbit, raising security concerns about soldiers and other people who are at USA military bases in sensitive areas.

You can search for familiar and secret places on the heat map here. But the military, the news outlet reported, did not respond to a question about existing regulations for using fitness-tracking apps.

Strava said it had excluded activities marked as private from the map.

Over the weekend Nathan Ruser, an analyst with the Institute for United Conflict Analysts, pointed out that while the "maps look pretty", they included USA military bases which were "clearly identifiable and mappable", he wrote on Twitter. "It looks very pretty, but not fantastic for Op-Sec".

Tobias Schneider, an global security analyst based in Germany, told the Post that the map does not identify app users and also shows locations that may be connected to aid agencies, United Nations facilities and the military bases of other countries.

"If soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially risky", Ruser noted on Twitter.

Australia Defence Association spokesman Neil James said it was getting harder to protect operation security as more and more products were connected to the internet.

"They probably should have had the foresight to look at the map before they released it, but the app has a policy where you can opt out of data sharing, and that hasn't been done by the soldiers", he said.

James said any devices that record or transmit should be left at home on deployments. The Post provides the example of Iraq and Syria, areas with limited data available based on user-uploaded files.

This meant military bases and supply corridors stuck out like sore thumbs in otherwise darkened developing countries.

"Patrol routes, isolated patrol bases, lots of stuff that could be turned into actionable intelligence". Nonetheless, you can identify activity at Australia's Pine Gap outside of Alice Springs, including what appears to be a routine patrol lap.

Pine Gap's main jobs are to intercept signals and control satellites using 14 dish antennas protected by their widely-recognised golf ball-like randomes.

There's not enough details to pinpoint troop movement in areas like the Middle East but they have been encouraged to use FitBit. But it is not hard, he said, to map the activity to known, or roughly known, USA military sites, and then glean further information.

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