CBS Local — A new app designed to show where people are exercising has unwittingly revealed the locations of secret military bases around the world. According to multiple reports, the sensitive information was gathered through the jogging data of U.S. soldiers and others using their fitness tracking devices.
GPS company Strava Labs recently unveiled their Global Heat Map, an interactive map that shows users where people are tracking their workouts the most. Strava produces the GPS technology found in many devices like Fitbits and smartphones. The company’s new app takes all of that information and presents it as a massive collection of data points for the world to see.
While most of the traffic lights up high-profile workout areas such as New York’s Central Park, Strava’s map also illuminated remote areas of the Middle East that embarrassingly showed the outline of U.S. facilities not previously revealed to the public.
“I just looked at it and thought, ‘oh hell, this should not be here – this is not good,'” Australian international security student Nathan Ruser said to the BBC. The 20-year-old from the Institute for United Conflict Analysts sent out a tweet alerting social media to the breach.
“I thought the best way to deal with it is to make the vulnerabilities known so they can be fixed. Someone would have noticed it at some point,” Ruser added.
The heat map is not just a U.S. military problem. The position of other countries’ bases, including Russian facilities in Syria, were all reportedly lit up by Strava’s map.
“Our global heat map represents an aggregated and anonymized view of over a billion activities uploaded to our platform,” Strava said in a statement obtained by Gizmodo.
The GPS company added that users can turn off the tracking tools or make the information their device is sending out private however, Strava claims that everything else is fair game for public view.
“We are committed to helping people better understand our settings to give them control over what they share.”
Strava is based in San Francisco and recently opened an office in Denver. The move will create 100 jobs in the city.
CBS4 reached out to Strava for comment on this story but we have not yet heard back.