The Department of Defense, also known as the Pentagon, has officially restricted the use of Strava and any fitness tracking apps from military personnel. On August 10th, Jacob Meschke of Bicycling.com reported the Pentagon’s decision concerning the use of fitness tracking and geolocation apps. The story first gathered attention in January after Nathan Ruser on Twitter highlighted that Strava Heatmaps clearly outlined US military bases.
Since January there has been a storm of social media activity concerning the use of Heatmaps. A week ago, the Pentagon officially weighed in: “Effective immediately, all active duty Department of Defense personnel are prohibited from using tracking functions on their phones and devices in Operational Areas.”
In light of the news, the military’s mandatory cybersecurity training will now include information on fitness tracking apps. The change in the Department of Defense policy is not directly related to Strava’s Heatmaps but there is reason for speculation.
According to CNN, Strava is said to be willing to work with the Pentagon “to address sensitive areas that might appear” on their Heatmaps. The Strava setting is an effective tool for cyclists and runners when planning a route or exploring a new city. However, protecting one’s privacy is of importance – military personnel or not.
Strava released their global heatmap. 13 trillion GPS points from their users (turning off data sharing is an option). https://t.co/hA6jcxfBQI … It looks very pretty, but not amazing for Op-Sec. US Bases are clearly identifiable and mappable pic.twitter.com/rBgGnOzasq
— Nathan Ruser (@Nrg8000) January 27, 2018