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Senators Urge Pentagon to Expand Scrutiny of Fitness Apps that Can Reveal Sensitive Military Sites

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Two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday urged the Pentagon to develop its investigation into using wi-fi gadgets at army installations after experiences emerged that health apps can unwittingly reveal the areas and actions of U.S. troops.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) imparted their considerations over revelations that Android telephones repeatedly gather and ship to Google exact consumer location knowledge, together with GPS coordinates and close by Wi-Fi networks.

The senators cited latest experiences that pressured the issue for a median consumer to decide out of the placement sharing capabilities and mentioned there’s a “strong likelihood” that the majority service members utilizing Android telephones “are sending precise location and activity data to Google, and, by extension, all divisions of its parents company, Alphabet.”

They mentioned latest testimony from Google’s senior vp and normal counsel raised considerations the corporate lacks safeguards that might forestall the placement knowledge of U.S. troops and diplomatic personnel deployed abroad from being saved in overseas databases, together with these positioned in adversarial nations comparable to Russia or China.

Cotton and Blumenthal additionally warned that Android telephones gather and ship to Google knowledge on all Wi-Fi base stations that might embody these positioned on army bases or in authorities buildings. While Wi-Fi operators can opt-out of location knowledge collections by turning on a “nonmap” function, the senators notice “the instructions seem difficult to use.”

“We are concerned that DoD Wi-Fi base stations in military bases and facilities around the world could be mapped unwittingly by service members,” Cotton and Blumenthal wrote. “In an period of more and more contested cyber domains, we might be unknowingly permitting our adversaries to map [Defense Department] networks for cyber intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and operational preparation of the atmosphere.

The Pentagon introduced final month it had opened a assessment into its pointers for using cell gadgets at army amenities after a number of experiences revealed the fitness-tracking firm Strava had posted a “heat map” on-line that inadvertently disclosed delicate army areas.

As a part of the investigation, Mattis is contemplating banning U.S. army and civilian personnel from bringing their private cellphones and digital gadgets comparable to FitBits into the Pentagon.

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