Strava fitness app 'reveals United States military bases'

Strava fitness app 'reveals United States military bases'

Strava fitness app 'reveals United States military bases'

Strava, a social network for runners and cyclists to track their work-outs via satellite navigation, released a heat map showing the activity of its users worldwide.

The map was posted online in November but the sensitive information was only publicised on Sunday after a 20-year-old global security and Middle East studies student from Australia zoomed into military bases.

Speaking from Thailand, Mr Ruser, who is studying worldwide security at the Australian National University, said he had been following the situation in Syria since 2014.

When you look at Strava's heatmap in countries like Australia, you see a lot of "noise" from civilians using the app. Sydney, for example, glows gold with people's jogging habits.

The fitness tracker heat map stands out in the Middle East compared with Western nation.

So Ruser got to thinking.

The Australian military may have to ban its personnel from using fitness watches in order to protect them.

It is also possible that workers from charities and other NGOs might feature on the conflict zone maps.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command said Sunday that the U.S. military is looking into the implications of the map, according to the Post.

Strava activity around Al Asad airbase in Iraq, where Australian soldiers have trained local forces.

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Strava says it has 27 million users around the world, including people who own widely available fitness devices, as well as people who directly subscribe to its mobile app. Its heatmap shows information collected between 2015 and September 2017.

The security implication of the Global Heat Map, which was uploaded in November 2017, was publicized by 20-year-old Australian worldwide security student and Institute for United Conflict Analysts founding member Nathan Ruser. "I shouldn't be able to establish any Pattern of life info from this far away", Ruser tweeted.

Strava demonstrated that the new heatmap was detailed enough to see kiteboarding in Mexico, to track the route of the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain and to see the sea route of the Ironman triathalon in Kona, Hawaii.

"I wondered, does it show USA soldiers?" he said, and immediately zoomed in on Syria.

Arms Control Wonk blog publisher Jeffrey Lewis wrote in The Daily Beast that it was "incredible" to see people taking smartphones or other devices past checkpoints into places they really shouldn't be. Strava, the company that records the data from Fitbit released a global heat map that records all activity by their users.

Strava data around the Pentagon.

For his part, he doesn't think it's Strava's fault.

Australia's military base Pine Gap is included in the heat map, along with what appears to be a routine patrol lap.

Comment was being sought from Defence.

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