New DoD Policy Prohibits GPS-Enabled Devices in Deployed Settings

Military troops and other defense personnel at sensitive bases or certain high-risk warzone areas won't be allowed to use fitness tracker or cellphone applications that can reveal their location according to a new Pentagon order

Military troops and other defense personnel at sensitive bases or certain high-risk warzone areas won't be allowed to use fitness tracker or cellphone applications that can reveal their location according to a new Pentagon order

"We don't want to give the enemy any unfair advantage", Army Col. Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesperson, told reporters on Monday.

"Therefore, effective immediately, Defense Department personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on government- and non-government-issued devices, applications, and services while in locations designated as operational areas", according to the memo.

The order says the applications on personal or government-issued devices present a "significant risk" to military personnel, so those capabilities must be turned off in certain operational areas.

While the devices themselves will not be banned, service members will be responsible for ensuring their geolocation features are disabled.

In January, Secretary Jim Mattis called for a review of using such devices and apps after news broke that Strava, an exercise tracking company that calls itself "the social network for athletes", published "Heat Maps" of military service members' fitness routines, particularly in remote areas of foreign countries where their presence is often sensitive. Manning, the Pentagon spokesperson, said punishments for doing so would be "determined on a case-by-case basis" and that commanders would be given "some type of space to make decisions on the ground".

Hamas fires rockets, Israel bombs Gaza despite talk of truce
Clashes along the Gaza border since the end of March have seen at least 160 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire . It said the Palestinian resistance had fired a large number of rockets at "enemy positions in the Gaza envelope".

Hawaiian Islands closely watching Category 4 Hurricane Hector
Hector was a Category 3 storm early Sunday as it churned toward the Hawaiian Islands, an archipelago that includes the Big Island. A powerful hurricane is on course to collide with an erupting volcano on Hawaii's Big Island within days, forecasters have said.

Saudi-Canada Fight Shows Need for More Pipelines, Oil Group Says
The bank had received no instructions to sell assets as they do not have any exposure there, the source said. The kingdom has suspended educational exchanges with Canada and moved Saudi scholars to other countries.

For all other locations, such as installations in the United States and overseas, "the heads of DoD components will consider the inherent risks associated with geolocation capabilities on devices, applications, and services, both non-government and government-issued, by personnel both on and off duty", the memo states.

Data released by Global Positioning System tracking company Strava in November 2017 shows where the users of fitness devices are around the world, including Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, as shown in this screenshot. Because Strava's userbase there was nearly entirely made up of military personnel, United States bases were shining like a beacon, including the ones that are removed from services like Google Maps.

The new restrictions come after the fitness app Strava introduced a "heatmap" feature late past year showing where users workout, inadvertently making it easy to find hidden American military bases overseas. But it also stopped short of banning the devices, and instead made clear that cellphones can still be used in common areas and other offices in the Pentagon if classified information is not present.

This includes physical fitness aids, applications in phones that track locations, and other devices and apps that pinpoint and track the location of individuals. The Pentagon also said it would be providing additional cybersecurity training to personnel as it pertains to such devices an apps.

Recommended News

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home Reportedly Adds Samuel L. Jackson & Cobie Smulders

    Spider-Man: Far From Home Reportedly Adds Samuel L. Jackson & Cobie Smulders

    Now we know a couple of former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents are suiting up again to meet Spidey on the big screen for the first time. Spider-Man: Far From Home is scheduled for a July 2019 release.
    Google's Pixel 3 might come with a pair of wired Pixel Buds

    Google's Pixel 3 might come with a pair of wired Pixel Buds

    There is a mint green power button on this Pixel 3 XL as well, which differs from the orange button on the two-tone Pixel 2 XL. Last week, Google Pixel 3 XL was leaked in a Clearly White colour option, courtesy of an image spotted by XDA Developers .
    Carrie Underwood Is Expecting Her Second Child!

    Carrie Underwood Is Expecting Her Second Child!

    We are bringing along friends Maddie and Tae and Runaway June ", she said, adding that "It's going to be absolutely fantastic ".
  • Xiaomi's Redmi Note 5 gets a price cut. It's now below RM900

    Xiaomi's Redmi Note 5 gets a price cut. It's now below RM900

    Now that the playing field has been leveled, it becomes much harder to recommend the ZenFone Max Pro M1 over this handset now. Also, the phone was first unveiled in Spain, and the 4GB+64GB variant will begin retailing first after the today's launch.
    Snapchat loses users but gains big investment

    Snapchat loses users but gains big investment

    Snap lost about 1 million users in each of its three geographic reporting regions: North America, Europe and rest of world. Snapchat founder and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel blamed the decline in users on the redesign of Snapchat earlier this year .
    Chris Pratts Cowboy Ninja Viking movie delayed indefinitely

    Chris Pratts Cowboy Ninja Viking movie delayed indefinitely

    Perhaps things behind the scenes of Cowboy Ninja Viking have just been far more complicated than any of us laymen ever realized. The film will be directed by Michelle Maclaren , who has also helmed a few episodes of hit HBO series, Game of Thrones .
  • Theresa May condemns Boris Johnson's burka comments

    Theresa May condemns Boris Johnson's burka comments

    Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leading backbench Brexiteer , said May was "clearly wrong" to have demanded Johnson apologise. Mr Johnson referred to women who wore the veil as "bank robbers" and said they looked like "letter boxes".
    Subtropical Storm Debby develops in the Atlantic

    Subtropical Storm Debby develops in the Atlantic

    The hurricane center said in its 5 p.m. update the "far northern fringes of the hurricane will brush the Big Island on Wednesday". As a precaution, Hawaii County officials closed three beaches on the Big Island, according to Hawaii News Now .
    Disney Provides Some Pricing Details For Direct-to-Consumer Streaming Service

    Disney Provides Some Pricing Details For Direct-to-Consumer Streaming Service

    Disney exec Ricky Strauss is in charge of the new streaming service, as president of content and marketing. Total revenue rose 7 percent to $15.23 billion, but missed analysts' average forecast of $15.34 billion.
  • Lombok natural disaster : Powerful tremors rock Indonesia days after 347 die

    Indonesia's disaster agency says the death toll from the quake that shook Lombok island Sunday evening has risen to 131. The Indonesian Red Cross said it had set up 10 mobile clinics in the north of the island.
    Playing Bellerive 'semi-blind' no problem for Rose

    Playing Bellerive 'semi-blind' no problem for Rose

    Only 13 players from that tournament are in the field; Woods missed it due to knee surgery he had that year after winning the U.S. The fourth and final Major golf tournament of 2018 will tee off at Bellerive Country Club outside St.
    Doubts grow over Elon Musk’s master plan to take Tesla private

    Doubts grow over Elon Musk’s master plan to take Tesla private

    It seems to have gotten the better of the billionaire who has tweeted that he's considering taking the company private . The stock is far below the $420 price at which Musk said shareholders would be bought out.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.