Strava fitness app 'reveals USA military bases'

Strava fitness app 'reveals USA military bases'

Strava fitness app 'reveals USA military bases'

In a statement, Strava said that the data it used to create the map had been anonymised, and "excludes activities that have been marked as private and user-defined privacy zones".

Strava, a popular app for runners and cyclers alike, is available for many fitness devices, including Fitbit, Android Wear, and Samsung's Galaxy Gear. Unfortunately, now they will have a different concern as online fitness tracking has created a global map filled with potentially damaging and sensitive information about US installations overseas.

The map, released in November 2017, shows every single activity ever uploaded to Strava - more than 3 trillion individual Global Positioning System data points, according to the company.

Some parts of the USA and Europe blazed bright with the activity of millions of people using fitness devices, while conflict zones in places like Iraq and Syria showed only the slightest, scattered sparks of activity.

However it was only recently discovered that this heat map revealed some secret locations, such as locations in Iraq and Syria where upon closer inspection, revealed the locations and outlines of known USA military bases, as well as potential secret locations.

Air Force Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said Sunday that the U.S. military is looking into the implications of the map.

THE top-secret locations of U.S. army bases have mistakenly been revealed by a fitness tracking company. Far from discouraging Strava-using devices, the Pentagon handed out 2,500 Fitbits to personnel in 2013.


Nathan Ruser, an Australian university student who first highlighted the issue, said he came across the map while browsing a cartography blog last week.

"I wondered, does it show USA soldiers?" he said, and immediately zoomed in on Syria. "It sort of lit up like a Christmas tree".

Not only US sites have been exposed through the map, as suspected Russian and Syrian bases are visible, too. As a result, the military bases stand out brightly against the dark backdrop of these Middle Eastern countries.

The location of most of the sites is already public knowledge - such as the vast Kandahar airbase in Afghanistan. But in doing so, it also shows locations where soldiers wearing those devices are training, including sites in Somalia, Niger, Syria and Afghanistan.

"In Syria, known coalition (ie US) bases light up the night", writes analyst Tobias Schneider.

Lines of activity extending out of bases and back may indicate patrol routes.

The appearance of military bases on the heatmap suggests that large numbers of military personnel across the globe have been publicly sharing their location data.

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