How Fitbits and trackers are exposing world's military secrets

Image Google Maps

Data published by Strava, which markets itself as a social network for amateur athletes using fitness tracking apps, has been shown to potentially reveal the location of secret U.S. military bases.

In a post about the newly-updated global heatmap last November, the fitness tracking company Strava said the update would include "six times more data than before - in total one billion activities from all Strava data through September 2017".

The map shows a great deal of activity in the US and Europe. The 2017 map doesn't show any live data, but the information available provides what would normally be classified data for anyone too see.

"Outside direct conflict zones, potentially sensitive information can still be gleaned".

The map was posted online in November but the sensitive information was only publicised on Sunday after a 20-year-old worldwide security and Middle East studies student from Australia zoomed into military bases.

"If soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially unsafe", he added.

The US military is reportedly reviewing the security implications and the Australian Defence Force is being urged to examine the use of fitness trackers by service personnel. The map shows all the fun places around the world where people use the app to exercise.

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

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The problem? Strava, which tracks your outdoor workouts via Global Positioning System, has also made it very, very easy to find hidden American military bases overseas. "In one of the USA bases at Tanf you can see people running round in circles".

Speaking to the ABC, Mr Ruser recalled what he first thought when he looked closely at the images. "You can see a pattern of life".

The Post reported that by zooming in on war zones and deserts in countries like Iraq and Syria, locations and outlines of known US military bases could be seen - along with other unknown and potentially sensitive sites.

Pine Gap's location 20km from Alice Springs was chosen so it would be out of the range of spy ships lurking in worldwide waters off the coast of Australia.

The US-based sports app Strava announced previous year that it was launching a new version of its Global Heat Map, which would be six times more intricate than the original model unveiled in 2015.

Military experts have warned users at security bases to turn off their devices to avoid detection.

Australia's military base Pine Gap is included in the heat map, along with what appears to be a routine patrol lap.

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