Jan 31, 2018

Strava’s Just the Start: The US Military’s Losing War Against Data Leakage

Posted by in category: military

The Defense Department can’t stop the rising river of of digital metadata — or prevent enemies from dipping into it.

The Pentagon has long wrapped Diego Garcia in a veil of secrecy, barring media from the Indian Ocean island even as its base and airfield became a key node in America’s wars in the Middle East. But a hole appeared in the veil last Saturday, when a mobile fitness-tracking app company called Strava posted a heatmap of its subscribers’ activity — including the routes that sailors and airmen take as they jogged.

“What you saw from the running patterns is exactly what I experienced when I was deployed there five times between 1985 and 1999,” Air Force General Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recalled in a breakfast with reporters on Tuesday. A heavily secluded jungle trail runs along the island’s western edge, Selva said, perfect for an ambush. “I’ve run it a thousand times. If I had a FitBit, I would have contributed to the map of Diego Garcia.”

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