News

January 30, 2018
 

DOD studying implications of wearable devices giving too much info

Tags:
by Jim Garamone
DOD News
The Defense Department urges service members and DOD civilians with wearable electronic devices to use the strictest privacy setting. Officials made the suggestion after publication of a “heat map” showing concentration of U.S military personnel overseas.
DOD photograph by Jim Garamone

Defense Department officials are studying security issues raised by physical conditioning trackers that also can be used to track service members’ whereabouts, a Pentagon spokesman told reporters Jan. 29.

The concern comes from a “heat map” posted by Strava — the makers of a fitness tracking application that shows the routes service members run or cycle in their daily exercises. These maps can show military bases and may be used to target individuals.

“We take these matters seriously, and we are 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,” Army Col. Robert Manning III said during a morning news conference at the Pentagon.

Wearable electronic fitness trackers upload data to Strava, which then publishes a heat map of the activity so people can download the maps to find good running or cycling routes.

Use privacy settings
“The rapid development of technology requires the rapid refinement of policy and procedures to enhance force protection and operational security,” Manning said. “DOD personnel are advised to place strict privacy settings on wireless technologies and applications.”

Service members are prohibited from wearing such wireless technologies in some areas and during some operations, Manning said.

Manning didn’t say what the department will do about the issue. “We have confidence in commanders to employ tactics, techniques and procedures that enhance force protection and operational security with the least impact to individuals,” the colonel said.

All DOD personnel go through annual training on information security. The training urges service members and DOD civilians to limit profiles on the internet, including personal social media accounts, Manning said.

“Furthermore, operational security requirements provide further guidance for military personnel supporting operations around the world,” he said. The heat map incident re-emphasizes the need for service members to be cautious about what data to share via wearable electronic devices, he added.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
nasaabort

Astronaut, cosmonaut safe after abort during launch to ISS

American astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin resting comfortably in the city of Baikonur, Kazakhstan, after an anomaly shortly after their launch. The Soyuz-10 spacecraft launched from the Baikonur Cosmod...
 
 
F35B

After crash, Pentagon says temporary pause in F-35 flights

The Pentagon on Oct. 11 ordered a temporary pause in all F-35 fighter jet flights in order to inspect the fleet in the wake of a crash last month in South Carolina. The decision involves a potentially bad fuel tube and affects ...
 
 
U.S. Army photo by Mr. David Kamm

Army researchers develop tasty, healthy performance bar

NATICK, Mass. — Optimizing bone health and preventing musculoskeletal injuries in service members is a complex science. The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine consistently takes on that challenge. USARIEM ...