Strava fitness tracking map reveals military bases, movements in war zones

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    Jan 29, 2018 12:31 PM GMT
    Apparently an unexpected consequence if military troops wear these fitness trackers on deployments. At least with this tracking & recording software, and perhaps with others, too. And I wonder about some smartphone apps, along with smart watches, like my Apple Watch.

    They all may not produce maps that can be viewed, but can their signals be hacked to track movements? Law enforcement uses those techniques now to track and locate suspects.

    Of course, most require cell towers within range to transmit wirelessly. But perhaps some will store data for upload at their next connection. The metadata of image files from smartphone cameras, when uploaded to the Cloud or archiving services, can also contain GPS locational data.

    A simple solution is to ban these devices from sensitive areas of deployment and operation. But all humans, not just the military, are the weak links when it comes to following instructions. Either through defiance or carelessness. Interesting issue for military planners and policy makers.

    Incidentally. in the past RJ has had some active military among its members, deployed to combat zones.
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    Feb 03, 2018 1:35 AM GMT
    There are lots of warnings against this sort of thing during pre-deployment training , but as GPS technology becomes more commonly embedded in all sorts of devices, the potential for occasional slip-ups is always there. Of course, operational security takes priority, but the morale of deployed personnel also has to be considered - and taking away all their electronic devices during a long deployment probably wouldn't go down well.

    As I understand it from news reports, most of these Strava fitness tracking traces were showing up on well-known U.S. military bases. Given that the enemy will already know of these bases and their basic layout, the traces (e.g. running routes around on-base roads) are unlikely to have told them anything they didn't know already, but it is still not good practice and I would be surprised if the problem hasn't now been addressed. Obviously, rules against wearing or carrying such devices while out on patrol and during other sensitive off-base operations need to be strictly enforced.

    It's not just a NATO problem either:

    Russian Soldiers 'Banned From Taking Selfies'

    Snap happy Russian soldiers could be in trouble next time they stop to take a selfie.

    A new draft law from Russia’s Military Defence wants to ban military personnel from posting on social media over fears it could compromise their location.

    The proposal published last week says that photographs, videos and other media can compromise the military and their operations.

    It forbids contract soldiers from posting online and inadvertently giving away useful information.

    Geo-tagging and geolocation data, a basic function in most social networks, allows just about anyone to pinpoint your location, within a few meters.

    It’s not just advanced technology that is causing concern, there’s also the issue of the ability to completely erase content online, as well as simply recognising the surroundings.