WASHINGTON senators are questioning whether fitness app Strava is currently doing enough to safeguard users’ privacy after it accidentally revealed the place of moves and military bases in war zones worldwide placing troops — and domestic security — at danger.
Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Christopher Coons, D-Del., sent a letter to Strava on Wednesday about privacy issues over showing where soldiers exercise with the app or through Fitbits, Garmins or alternative devices that relay their places into Strava.
“This information may jeopardize users’ personal safety in a variety of ways, including revealing an individual’s daily activities, frequented locations, and sensitive health info,” the letter in the top members of the Senate subcommittee on privacy, engineering and the law said. “The implications of making this information available could influence national security by revealing the whereabouts of locations. ”
Strava assembled exercise information from about 27 million participants and aggregated it into an interactive “international heating map” that revealed where people have been exercising for the past couple of decades. The map became widely publicized in January and available in November.
Since bases are in places that are remote, the map gets the unintended result of highlighting troops’ places. The senators questioned rsquo & the organization while Strava stated it would take action to simplify privacy settings;s attempts.
“Strava has failed to show that it takes those issues seriously,&Flake rdquo and Coons said in their correspondence. “Strava’s fitness program makes it very hard to determine of undesirable data-sharing. … It appears that lots of consumers are either confused by Strava’s opt-out provisions or just unaware of exactly what info is being tracked. ”
In a statement Jan. 29, Strava CEO James Quarles stated the business would simplify privacy settings on equipment initially created for athletes to share data instead of distribute intelligence to “individuals with negative intent. ”
“we respected profile and activity solitude choices, including the ability to opt from heat maps & rdquo; Quarles stated, In constructing it. &ldquo we heard over the weekend which Strava members at the army, humanitarian workers and others residing overseas might have shared their place in areas and, in doing this, inadvertently increased awareness of places. ”
The Department of Defense said it reviewed its policies on smartphones and wearable devices.
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