Fitness app company, Strava, boasts that it connects athletes around the world. These connections have brought Strava under scrutiny for their reveal of top-secret, sensitive U.S. military locations. In November 2017, Strava released a heat map, which revealed their user’s activities at U.S. military bases. This map revealed the location, layout and staffing of these bases.
On Wednesday Jan. 31, eight congressional Democrats sent a letter to Strava’s CEO, James Quarles asking for him to explain why the company chose to reveal this information online and why they chose to take no measures whatsoever to secure the locations of users.
Not only have secret military locations been revealed, but also military supply and convoy routes. This information would be dangerous in the hands of U.S. adversaries.
Lawmakers also demanded Quarles reveal the policies in place for privacy protection of its users.
Assistant Professor of History Dr. Shawn Fisher is a military historian and serves as the Faculty Liaison for ROTC and Veterans Affairs.
“This app is like many social media issues other than the military is dealing with in that the user is most likely going to compromise some level of operational security,” Fisher said. “The policies developed in response to these security dangers are being considered and its one of the issues personnel are trained to think about — when it becomes an issue. I am confident this will be one of those that will heavily censored while personnel are on duty, just like all social media is today.”
“The app needs to insure people (Strava is) keeping all the info secret and making sure they can keep it protected from foreign affairs,” junior Nathan Wagner President of the College Republicans said.
With the increase of fitness app users, apps on smartphones, smart watches and general tracking devices, individual privacy is in jeopardy.
Social media can be dangerous for those who do not know how to use it properly. By allowing one’s own location to be seen by the world, people put themselves in harm’s way.