Pentagon Orders Soldiers to Switch Off GPS

Pentagon Orders Soldiers to Switch Off GPS

Pentagon Orders Soldiers to Switch Off GPS

After data from the Strava fitness app was shown to depict US personnel movements at military bases, the Pentagon is restricting the use of geolocation devices. The policy applies to fitness trackers, cellphones, smartwatches and other electronics that can be tracked using Global Positioning System technology.

Troops in areas where security is less of a concern, such as bases in the USA or at the Pentagon itself, can still use their GPS-equipped devices and apps in most cases.

If a commander determines the risk is too great, the devices and apps themselves won't be prohibited, so long as the location-tracking features on them can be ― and are ― switched off.

Deployed personnel are in "operational areas", and commanders will make a determination on other areas where this policy may apply.

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The announcement cites an increasing security risk presented by smartphones, tablets, smart watches, and software such as fitness trackers, all of which "potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission".

Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, said it's a move to ensure the enemy can't easily target US forces.

U.S. military have been banned from using fitness trackers, smartphones and other devices and services over the fear that geolocation features might jeopardize the secrecy of American operations overseas, the Pentagon has announced.

'It goes back to making sure that we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage and we're not showcasing the exact locations of our troops worldwide, ' Manning said.

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The Pentagon immediately launched a review, noting that the electronic signals could potentially disclose the location of troops who are in secret or classified locations or on small forward operating bases in hostile areas.

That memo allowed cellphones to still be used in Pentagon common areas and offices, but made clear the current practice that requires phones be left in daily-use storage containers located outside the secure spaces where sensitive or classified materials are handled or discussed.

"For instance, we have seen indications where family Facebook postings have been used to analyze the movement of military units and thus compromised operations".

Heather Pierce, a spokeswoman for Fitbit, said Monday: 'Fitbit is committed to protecting consumer privacy and keeping data safe.

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