Fitness tracking app pinpoints secret military bases across the world

Posted January 30, 2018

But the military, the news outlet reported, did not respond to a question about existing regulations for using fitness-tracking apps.

Strava, a fitness tracker app that is used in devices by Fitbit and Jawbone, may have just revealed to the world the locations of secret us military bases and facilities.

The issue was first raised by Nathan Ruser, a 20-year-old worldwide security student at the Australian National University.

Apart from overseas military bases such as in Afghanistan, Syria, Djibouti, etc., the Strava map also shows larger known military bases.

Strava allows its users to record their exercise via Global Positioning System using a phone or wearable devices like Fitbit, which have been given out to US forces in the past.

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Beyond pinpointing military base locations, which are typically well-known, the problem with Strava's heatmap is that it possibly reveals more personalized details about military personnel's movements - information that could compromise operational security.

"Our global heatmap represents an aggregated and anonymized view of over a billion activities uploaded to our platform", the statement read.

In a statement to CNN, Strava said the company is "committed to helping people better understand" its privacy settings. The company says activities which are marked as private are not part of the global heat map. 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.

"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.

A USA military spokesperson told the paper it is looking into the issue. "I shouldn't be able to establish any Pattern of life info from this far away".

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Despite numerous bases being common knowledge, there are also a few that are meant to be a little more covert. Nevertheless, it's happening, and the US -led coalition against the Islamic State is now in the process of revising its guidelines on the use of all wireless devices at military locations.

"This is literally what 10,000 innocent individual screw-ups look like", he said. One user responding to the tweet pointed out that he had located a Patriot missile system site in Yemen, while another pointed out a hub of activity on a beach near a suspected Central Intelligence Agency base in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Using the data Russer pointed out military bases in a number of conflict zones where USA military are based.

The company argues that the information had already been made public by users who chose to share their location data.

People also found a UK RAF base in the Falklands and French forces in Niger.

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