An interactive map was posted on the internet that portrayed the tracks of US soldiers who jogged while wearing fitness gadgets such as Fitbits. The map also reveals information that is highly sensitive to the activities and locations of the American troops at the American military bases in what many see as a major oversight on matters regarding security. The Global Positioning System (GPS) firm known as Strava published the map images using information provided by satellites to map the data, movements and location of those who subscribed to the company’s devices for the last 24 months.
The map shows the routes used by the soldiers to jog while on deployment by having the areas of activity illuminated using various bright colors. Strava has stated that 27 million people have subscribed to their devices from all over the world. The tools include fitness gadgets such as Vitofit, Jawbone and Fitbit. The number also includes those individuals have subscribed to their mobile application directly. Although the map is not live, it displays a pattern of activity that has accumulated over the period between 2015 and 2017 September. The map shows a blaze of light in areas around Europe and the United States where there are millions of people who have been using the fitness devices made by the company.
The heat signature in the map for areas that have been torn apart by conflicts such as Syria and Iraq becomes almost dark due to the low to zero number of users. However, such areas have little activity which brings on the activity of troops that have been deployed in military bases in the Middle East after zooming. The map also reveals some sites where the US soldiers operate that are usually supposed to be top secret. John Thomas, a Colonel in the US Air force who also serves as the US Command’s spokesperson, has said that the implications of the map are being studied by the US military.
The US armed forces did not offer any response when they were tasked with explaining the regulations that have been put in place regarding the use of tracking and fitness applications by their members. However, the use of Fitbits among military personnel has been encouraged by the Pentagon. The Pentagon has in the past distributed over 2,500 fitness tracking devices as part of a pilot program to combat obesity among service members.