Health Care

Pentagon bans geolocators on apps

Pentagon bans geolocators on apps”

The Pentagon on Monday prohibited deployed forces from using Global Positioning System features in fitness apps and other devices after the data could have exposed sensitive details about bases and troops, the Washington Examiner reported Monday.

Military troops and other defense personnel at sensitive bases or certain high-risk warzone areas won't be allowed to use fitness trackers or cellphone applications that can reveal their location, according to a new Pentagon order.

The move to increase troop security comes in part as a response to exercise-logging company Strava publishing a map compiling its users' activity.

The memo does say that Combatant Commanders, who oversee U.S. troops around the world, could authorize the use of the devices, but only after conducting "a threat-based comprehensive Operations Security survey".

United States military have been banned from using fitness trackers, smartphones and other devices and services over the fear that geolocation features might jeopardize the secrecy of American operations overseas, the Pentagon has announced.

In all other locations, including the Pentagon, troops and defense personnel will be able to use the GPS-enabled devices if leaders decides it doesn't pose a risk.

'It goes back to making sure that we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage and we're not showcasing the exact locations of our troops worldwide, ' Manning said. Within the USA, the colorful web of lines was mostly just an interesting way of visualizing runners' data, but in Middle Eastern countries such as Afghanistan, the map showed much more.

Observers noted that few local residents owned the devices and that the activity seen on the heat map allowed for the mapping of military bases and potentially even top secret sites.

Those who violate the ban on geolocation features will be dealt with on a case by case basis depending on the severity of the infraction, Manning said.

Many popular devices and applications, including smartphones, smart watches, fitness and dating apps use geolocation and some applications could potentially not work with the geolocation features turned off.

While active duty soldiers carry their personal devices to operational areas, they can't take them on missions, so they're left communicating through encrypted radios that haven't changed much since World War II.

The Pentagon also said it will provide additional cybersecurity training to include the risks posed by the trackers and other mobile devices.



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