US military to review security amid Strava fitness app fears

Helmand province in Afghanistan. Pic. Strava heatmap

The US navy has mentioned it should evaluate its privateness coverage amid considerations that an interactive map launched by health monitoring app Strava may reveal the places of delicate navy bases.

The web site and cell app – which makes use of GPS from telephones and health units resembling Fitbit or Garmin to document exercise – used the knowledge to create a “world heatmap”, which was printed on their web site in November.

Children using exercise tracking devices at school
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Health monitoring units now pose a safety danger for the navy

The map raised safety considerations about troopers and different people who find themselves at US navy bases in delicate areas.

In response to the Strava knowledge, Pentagon spokeswoman Main Audricia Harris mentioned: “The Division of Defence (DoD) takes issues like these very significantly and is reviewing the state of affairs to find out if any extra coaching or steerage is required, and if any extra coverage should be developed to make sure the continued security of DoD personnel at dwelling and overseas.”

Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Pic. Strava heatmap
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Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan. Pic. Strava

Strava – whose tagline is “the social community for athletes” – has defended publishing the knowledge, saying it was already made public by the customers who uploaded it.

A weblog submit entitled “Methods to handle your privateness on Strava” printed in the summertime says: “Nothing is extra necessary than the security of our group, and a part of our dedication to security is offering world class instruments to assist you to select what to share”.

The article goes on to elucidate learn how to add privateness zones and handle heatmap knowledge sharing.

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The web site says they’ve 27 million customers around the globe, and that the up to date map consists of “six instances extra knowledge than earlier than  - in whole one billion actions from all public Strava knowledge”.

The aggregated data – which isn’t reside – exhibits exercise collected between 2015 and September 2017.

Nonetheless, whereas the illuminated areas of motion are plentiful within the US and Europe, in distant warzones resembling Iraq and Syria the map turns into darkish, apart from areas utilized by troopers and navy employees monitoring their very own health.

This has meant that the places of US navy bases – each well-known bases and lesser-known and doubtlessly delicate websites – stand out clearly on the map.

The free web site, which tracks working, biking, winter and water actions, awards “problem” badges for distances accomplished, and is utilized by each skilled and novice athletes around the globe.

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