Dems demand answers from fitness app that revealed sensitive military info

Dems demand answers from fitness app that revealed sensitive military info
© Greg Nash

Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from Strava, the fitness app that analysts say may have inadvertently revealed the locations of covert military and intelligence bases.

The lawmakers, led by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneLawmakers call on Trump to keep tech legal shield out of trade talks Hillicon Valley: FTC fines Facebook B in privacy settlement | Critics pan settlement as weak | Facebook also faces FTC antitrust probe | Senate panel advances 'deepfakes' legislation | House passes anti-robocall bill House passes anti-robocall bill MORE (D-N.J.), on Wednesday asked for a briefing from the company following reports that analysts have been able to use its publicly available “heat map” to pinpoint the locations of U.S. military bases in the Middle East.

"The increasing popularity of fitness trackers and other wearable technology has raised serious questions about the types of data they collect and share and the degree to which consumers control their own personal information," the members wrote in a letter to Strava. "The data these devices collect reveals users' precise locations, daily activities, and health information. Most consumer technology companies, however, are not required to set baseline privacy standards or ensure that users' information is secured."

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Strava is a fitness app that lets users track their fitness activity and share it with friends. It can be used on devices like Fitbits, Apple Watches and other fitness trackers. The company’s popularity among service members appears to have highlighted military bases and covert sites on its worldwide heat map.

The aggregate public data that the company puts out is anonymous, though analysts have also found that users can have their locations tracked by cross-referencing Strava’s data with that from other social media sites.

The nine House Democrats sent the company a series of questions about its privacy settings, its security practices and any changes it plans to make following the recent reports.