A San Francisco-based exercise app has posted the locations of its 27 million users worldwide, which military and security experts say could point to military bases where troops use fitness gadgets.
The company Strava, which calls itself “the social network for those who strive,” uses satellite information to map the activity of its subscribers who use gadgets such as Fitbit to monitor their activity. Strava’s interactive “global heat map” showed where people have been exercising for the last two years.
The Pentagon has encouraged the use of Fitbits among military personnel and in 2013 distributed 2,500 of them as part of a pilot program to battle obesity, according to The Washington Post.
But the security concern is that activity in remote locations such as Iraq or Niger could pinpoint where troops are stationed overseas.
While the locations tracked from 2015 to September 2017 were posted in November, the map was only recently publicized.
Nathan Ruser, who is studying international security and the Middle East, focused on Syria and told the Post that “it sort of lit up like a Christmas tree.”
Adam Rawnsley, a reporter at the Daily Beast, noticed a lot of jogging activity on the beach near a suspected CIA base in Mogadishu, Somalia.
Ben Taub, a journalist with The New Yorker magazine, focused on the location of U.S. Special Operations bases in the Sahel region of Africa.
The military is studying the matter and deciding how to respond.
The Defense Department “takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required, and if any additional policy must be developed to ensure the continued safety of (military) personnel at home and abroad," Maj. Audricia Harris, a department spokeswoman, told The Associated Press.
Privacy settings on the devices could be set to prevent distribution of locations. The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State told the Post on Monday it is revising its guidelines on the use of all wireless and technological devices on military facilities as a result of the revelations.