Deployed soldiers and service members in the US military will no longer be able to use fitness trackers or other apps that require geolocation services. The Pentagon released a statement Monday regarding service people in operational areas.
The rule, which must be fully implemented within six months, comes after the Strava fitness app released its Global Heat Map. The map shows user activity around the world in veiny glows. The trouble? Cross-referencing Strava's map with known military base locations could be risky for deployed service people.
While Strava's map doesn't show military installations specifically, Google Maps does. And Strava shows frequency of people's movements and where, which could pose a safety threat.
"It goes back to making sure we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage and we're not showcasing the exact location of our troops worldwide," Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told CNN.
The order isn't a full-out ban. It requires service people in sensitive or high-risk areas to turn off the geolocation capabilities on their devices. This decision from the military is only tightening the rules on electronic devices in combat. For example, mobile phones can be used in the common areas and other offices as long as classified information isn't present.
Geolocation is used by many apps besides fitness trackers. Smart watches and dating apps are two examples.
On-site ship or base commanders will have the final say in what devices are allowed, according to the Military Times.
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- Soldiers and service people in high-risk areas are no longer allowed to use apps or devices with geolocation capabilities.
- The choice comes after the Strava fitness app released its Global Heat Map, showing its worldwide users. The information in the wrong hands could be potentially dangerous.
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