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Activity of US military personnel accidentally illuminated via fitness app


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Strava, a fitness app which allows users to track their exercise routes, has revealed a map of activity of US military personnel, according to an Australian student.  

This weekend, Nathan Ruser disclosed that although the app gives the option of turning off data sharing, a number of military personnel have traced their routes publicly - providing an illustration of where they are deployed. 

The map has been used to trace the movements of soldiers in the largest US military facility in Afghanistan - the Bagram air base, and other overseas locations where the activity of the predominantly Western users stands out.

The location of military bases is no secret, because they are often well known to local people and can also be seen on Google Earth satellite images, but Strava offers new insight into the movement of the people themselves. High levels of activity, depicted as brighter light on the map, indicate the distribution of soldiers at each base and leaves luminous trails of their daily routines and whereabouts.  

As Air Force Colonel John Thomas, a spokesperson for the US Central Command noted to the Washington Post, the full implications of this are as yet unclear. There are no figures yet on how much military personnel publicly revealed their routes, and who might have been able to trace them.

What we know is that the public blunder of some military personnel has led to their activities being traced to their bases, by a student of international security along with potentially other members from over a million active users.

Journalists have also stressed the possibility of hackers accessing the full database of information collected by the app – both public and private – which is likely to result in the boycotting of social tracking devices amongst those employed by the US military service. 

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