Pentagon restricts use of GPS-enabled fitness trackers

File photo.

(REUTERS/Kacper Pempel )

From now on, deployed service members will have to resort to low-tech ways to keep track of their fitness activities.

That is because there is a new memo from Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan prohibits the use of GPS devices – including wearable fitness trackers and smartphone apps that you can keep track of your location in deployed settings, the Ministry of Defence announced Monday.


“Immediately, Department of Defense personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on the government and nongovernment-issued devices, applications, and services, while in locations designated as area of operations,” Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Robert Manning said on Monday.

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The new restrictions come after the fitness app Strava introduction of a “heatmap” at the end of last year to see what users training, accidentally making it easy to find the hidden American military bases abroad.

“By zooming in on one of the larger bases are clear internal layout, as mapped by the tracked jogging routes of numerous soldiers,” The Guardian reported at the time. “The base itself is not visible on the satellite view of commercial providers, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps, but it can be clearly seen by Strava.”

After that revelation, the U.S. army in January said it was reviewing its wireless device policy.

“The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications and services with geo-location capabilities, is a key risk for the Ministry of Defense staff on and off duty, and our military operations worldwide,” Manning said yesterday. Such devices and apps can, for example, shows that the service of the members of personal information, locations, routines, and more. The DoD says commanders are responsible for the implementation of the new policy.

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