FEB 08, 2018 7:59 AM PST

Can Fitness Trackers Compromise Military Security?


Fitness trackers and smartphone apps are a boon to those who want to stay motivated in their workouts and keep track of their progress. Privacy can be a problem, however, as it was recently for the U. S. military. Many soldiers stationed in Afghanistan use the app Stava to keep track of their physical training. In November, the developers of the app shared a global activity map of users, locations, and GPS points. When the map was posted online, a 20-year-old student noticed that military installations were clearly visible.

Some of what showed up on the map was already widely available on the open web, but some locations were not. By superimposing the Stava locations on current satellite images and maps, it became clear where certain bases were, what equipment was located there and when military personnel were working out in the area. Some military users had even posted photos of themselves on base and loaded them up online with the app. The Pentagon issued a statement saying that use of the app will be reviewed to see if service members need additional guidance or training on operational security.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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