Pentagon Forbids Use of GPS Features in Fitness Apps

Pentagon puts restrictions on fitness trackers | TheHill

Outlines of US outposts in Syria and Iraq could be seen in the maps because many USA military personnel used fitness tracking devices, while few local people own them, according to media reports.

The ban, announced on Monday, prohibits Department of Defense personnel "from using geolocation features and functionality on government and non-government-issued devices, applications, and services while in locations designated as operational areas".

The move to increase troop security comes in part as a response to exercise-logging company Strava publishing a map compiling its users' activity.

The new order will allow military leaders to decide if troops can use the Global Positioning System function on their devices, based on the security threat in that area or on that base.

The change comes more than seven months after an worldwide security student, Nathan Ruser, reviewed information released by the GPS tracking company Strava and discovered that a "global heat map" it provided could be used to map the locations of USA troops and other security forces overseas.

U.S. military have been banned from using fitness trackers, smartphones and other devices and services over the fear that geolocation features might jeopardize the secrecy of American operations overseas, the Pentagon has announced.

A review of Pentagon policies about the devices that made this possible was ordered and that's what this memo is all about.

At the time, the map showed activity from 2015 through September 2017.

Those who violate the ban on geolocation features will be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the severity of the infraction, Manning said.

One base cited in the article is not available on public maps such as Google and Apple maps, but its internal layout could be gleaned from looking at mapped jogging routes of soldiers there using the fitness tracking software.

That memo called for stricter adherence to long-held practices that require phones be left in storage containers outside secure areas. As CNN noted, the rule would apply to a wide range of products and apps including fitness trackers, smartphones and potentially even dating apps. That information can present enemies with information on military operations.

Military officials are set to create risk management guidelines and new training for those devices within 30 days, the report said.

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