Pentagon bans geolocators on apps

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While the ban will affect the USA overseas operations, the personnel working at the Pentagon will still be allowed to use the devices.

"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", according to an August 3 memo from Patrick Shanahan, the deputy secretary of defense. The decision comes after revelations that such apps and equipment can be used to pinpoint bases and troop movement.

The restriction likely won't affect troops and personnel at major military bases in the US or the Pentagon itself; but those in more sensitive locations like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan will probably be impacted.

The new policy says the ban applies to all personnel in "operational areas", which Manning said "absolutely" includes troops deployed overseas.

'It goes back to making sure that we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage and we're not showcasing the exact locations of our troops worldwide, ' Manning said.

The Pentagon said in January it was reviewing policies regarding such devices after it was revealed that Strava, a fitness tracking app that maps people's exercise habits, may have inadvertently revealed the locations of security forces around the world.

The Pentagon announced in a Friday memorandum that it would be banning the use of Global Positioning System features on all devices and applications at locations "designated as operational areas".

Observers noted that few local residents owned the devices and that the activity seen on the heat map allowed for the mapping of military bases and potentially even top secret sites.

One base cited in the article is not available on public maps such as Google and Apple maps, but its internal layout could be gleaned from looking at mapped jogging routes of soldiers there using the fitness tracking software.

This is the second memo affecting the use of cellphones and other electronic devices that the department has released in recent months.

That memo called for stricter adherence to long-held practices that require phones be left in storage containers outside secure areas. Military operatives are still allowed to use their devices but must disable geolocation services, or face punishment.

Military officials are set to create risk management guidelines and new training for those devices within 30 days, the report said.

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