The Pentagon Has Restricted Use Of Fitness Trackers And Other GPS-Tracking Devices While Troops Are Deployed

A new policy advises military members to turn off their geolocation services while actively deployed

The Pentagon has issued a new policy restricting use of fitness tracking devices
Yashkin Ilya / Shutterstock

A new policy advises military members to turn off their geolocation services while actively deployed

While wearing a fitness tracking device can be useful to help users track their fitness and activity levels, there are times when the devices are not such a good idea. Take for example when military personnel are deployed in areas considered to be “sensitive.” As a result, the Pentagon has gone ahead and issued a statement that active military personnel should not be using certain features of such devices when they are actively deployed in an effort to protect national security.

In the recent case of missing Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts, the fact that she was wearing a Fitbit has been helpful for investigators as they piece together a timeline leading up to Mollie’s disappearance. However, if you are currently a military member who is deployed in a classified location, wearing a Fitbit might not be such a good idea.

The reason for this is quite simple. Those who use fitness tracking devices such as Fitbit usually have a group of friends that are connected via the device’s app. This way, friends and family can see just how much exercise has been done and it helps to spur people on to exercise more. However, it is this public display that is the very thing the Pentagon is concerned about.

According to the Military Times, the Pentagon issued a policy on Monday that prohibits some use of fitness tracking devices while service members are deployed. However, users will still be able to use some features on these devices. The main concern is that active military members disable the geolocation services.

The policy states that while service members can track the distance and time they have exercised, they are not allowed to expose the locations of bases and other important facilities they might travel past while exercising.

The Pentagon has resticted use of fitness tracking devices for actively deployed military members
  Strava

The new policy has come in response to information released in January by the data firm Strava, which “revealed the locations and pathways of military installations around the globe,” according to the Military Times.

Along with the new policy, the Pentagon released the following statement.

“The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications, and services with geolocation capabilities presents a significant risk to the Department of Defense personnel on and off duty, and to our military operations globally.”

While there will be some restrictions on devices and usage while actively deployed, service members will still be able to use all the features on their fitness tracking devices when they are not actively deployed.