U.S. soldiers using Fitbit accidentally map sensitive military sites

Image Strava

In a statement, Strava said that the data it used to create the map had been anonymised, and "excludes activities that have been marked as private and user-defined privacy zones".

The app can be used on smartphones and jogging devices like Fitbit.

News.com.au has reached out to the Department of Defence with questions about protocols in place regarding the use of such location tracking apps by servicemen and women while on site.

Interactive map by Strava shows where people are using Fitbit and other devices.

Some parts of the USA and Europe blazed bright with the activity of millions of people using fitness devices, while conflict zones in places like Iraq and Syria showed only the slightest, scattered sparks of activity.

"Zooming in on one of the larger bases clearly reveals its internal layout, as mapped out by the tracked jogging routes of numerous soldiers".

The US military is looking into the implications of the map, Air Force Col John Thomas, a US Central Command spokesman, said on Sunday (28 January).

Mr Ruser, 20, who is now studying global security at ANU, shared a number of images which purport to reveal FOBs (forward operating bases - commonly used to support tactical operations) established by Western countries. Far from discouraging Strava-using devices, the Pentagon handed out 2,500 Fitbits to personnel in 2013.

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A 20-year-old Australian National University security studies student Nathan Ruser uncovered the potential breach for military bases.

"I wondered, does it show United States soldiers?"

A closer look at those areas brings into focus the locations and outlines of well-known USA military bases, as well as other lesser-known and potentially sensitive sites - possibly because American soldiers and other personnel are using fitness trackers as they move around.

The Post added that other journalists on Twitter were also weighing in on what they identified to be USA military bases.

The Pentagon has publicly acknowledged that US special operations soldiers maintain a small outpost at Tanf in the Syrian desert near the Iraqi border, which shows up on the map as a neatly illuminated oblong, probably because USA soldiers wearing Fitbits or similar devices either jog or patrol around the perimeter.

Fellow analyst Tobias Schneider said: "In Syria, known coalition bases light up the night", reports The Guardian.

However, other observers of the public data found foreign military were the only users of apps like Strava in countries like Afghanistan, Syria, and Djibouti. Concentrations of light inside a base may indicate where troops live, eat or work, suggesting possible targets for enemies. By using Strava in these secret military bases, the app just gave away their locations.

Former British army officer Nick Waters tweeted that the information "could be turned into actionable intelligence".

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