An interactive map, which used Google Maps, shows the world the locations of people who have used fitness devices such as Fitbit and Jawbone.
The map is a fun way to search up the activity of people around the world, but as they say, the devil is in the details. Thus, a little digging reveals the location of the American bases and secret locations.
The Global Heat Map, which was published by Strava, a GPS tracking company, displays the activity of its users by highlighting the areas with different shades. The company says that the data it is showing is two years old.
According to the new age fitness company, it has more than 20 million users around the globe that use its application. The map shows heavy usage of tracking devices in the European Union and the U.S.
However, the interesting bits are the areas where the world is currently at war. Countries such as Iraq and Syria have countries inked dark, but if you look closely, there are locations where you can find specks of light. Those areas, when zoomed in are bases of the United States and allied forces and could possibly be black sites.
“The rapid development of new and innovative information technologies enhances the quality of our lives but also poses potential challenges to operational security and force protection,” states the Central Command Press Office based in Kuwait. “The Coalition is in the process of implementing refined guidance on privacy settings for wireless technologies and applications, and such technologies are forbidden at certain Coalition sites and during certain activities.”
The Pentagon urges its members to use Fitbit. In 2013, they even distributed more than 2000 devices among men and women in the military to fight obesity, reports the Washington Post.
Though the heat maps were published two years ago, Australia’s Nathan Ruser, who is studying international relations and conflicts in the Middle East, was the first to see the other side of the maps.
He mentioned his doubt in his tweet, tagging along with his fellow students, professors, military experts and soldiers to check if the maps highlighted some really sensitive information.
“I wondered does it show U.S. soldiers?” states Ruser, concentrating on Syria. “It sort of lit up like a Christmas tree.”
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
Many Twitter users were also able to identify missile sites and special operation bases across different parts of the Middle East and Africa. According to the Daily Mail, the Pentagon says that it is studying the situation.
“Recent data releases emphasize the need for situational awareness when members of the military share personal information,’ says Major Audricia Harris, a Pentagon representative. “Department of Defense takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required and if any additional policy must be developed to ensure the continued safety of DoD personnel at home and abroad.”
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