Have you signed up for a tracking app by mistake?

Have you signed up for a tracking app by mistake?

Unfortunately, it also may have given away the exact location of US military bases. In most cases, the apps or devices keep tabs on basic health information such as steps taken, heart rate, or sleep.

Toward the end of a year ago Strava released a data visualisation that contained all the activity tracked by its applications in one attractive map.

Nathan Ruser, who is studying worldwide security and the Middle East, found out about the map from a mapping blog and was inspired to look more closely, he said, after a throwaway comment by his father, who observed that the map offered a snapshot of "where rich white people are" in the world.

First noticed by Nathan Ruser, a member of the Institute for United Conflict Analysts (IUCA), the map has shone a light on data privacy and its impact on operational security.

Taking a close look at these areas, users will see that some of them are known USA military bases.

The Strava app allows users to record their activity using Global Positioning System over a phone or wearable devices such as Fitbit, a device popular among us forces.

Strava's updated global heatmap has revealed the location of sensitive military bases, with military analysts expressing concern over the weekend that the information could affect security.

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In an engineering blog post from November, Strava said the newest version of the map was built from one billion activities - some three trillion points of data, covering 27 billion km (17bn miles) of distance run, jogged, or swum.

"We are committed to helping people better understand our settings to give them control over what they share", said Strava in a statement. Users can opt out of data collection for the heat map, or set up "privacy zones" in certain locations. A few Russian bases also surfaced.

A US military spokesperson told the paper it is looking into the issue. According to the app maker, the heatmap relies on public data. The freely-available heatmap, which can be accessed here, can zoom into any part of the world and detail the cycling or jogging routes of its users.

In response, the Australian military said it would consider banning the personal fitness devices. This is bad news for security, as it establishes reliable "pattern of life" information that would otherwise be unavailable to the rest of the world.

Manning said the review would look at the use of all wearable electronics and smartphones. The map of Afghanistan is a spiderweb of lines connecting bases, showing supply routes, as is northeast Syria, where the U.S. maintains mostly unpublicised bases.

People also found a UK RAF base in the Falklands and French forces in Niger.

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