So with all of the insanity that dominates the news cycle, every once in a while a truly nutty story breaks that just doesn’t seem to receive enough attention. Overshadowed by the daily politics du jour, these stories register on the radar for a day or so, and then seem to vanish from the world’s collective conscious.
This week’s story? Strava.
Haven’t heard of Strava? Neither had I, until this story began making the rounds. Strava is a fitness app that compiles data from users who utilize fitness trackers such as FitBit and Jawbone. A social media site of sorts, Strava uses this data to highlight running and jogging routes around the globe and displays them on a Google Earth-style satellite map.
Sounds intriguing, right? Of course it is! You can connect with others who work out in similar areas, possibly meet a jogging buddy, discover unique routes for your morning run.
Yep. That’s the issue with Strava.
Users online began to notice high areas of fitness activity in places like Syria, Djibouti, and Iraq, and immediately deduced that it was the result of military personnel using their fitness trackers and connecting to Strava. Essentially, working out on secret military bases broadcast their location to others users around the world.
Yet another unforeseen, unintended consequence of geo-tagging and social media. Strava and the government have referred to it as a “security oversight” that will be rectified, but it’s not hyperbole to say immense damage has already been done.
Let this social media debacle serve a lesson: be careful with geo-tagging!