The exercise app laying down a trail for insurgents
US military looking at risks to personnel as global heatmap gives clues to the enemy
A map showing paths taken by users of an exercise tracking app reveals potentially sensitive information about American and allied military personnel in places including Iraq and Syria. While some bases are well known to groups that might want to attack them, the map also shows what appear to be routes taken by forces moving outside of bases — information that could be used in planning bombings or ambushes. The map, made by Strava Labs, shows the movements of its app users around the world, indicating the intensity of travel along a given path — a “direct visualization of Strava’s global network of athletes,” it says. Routes are highlighted over large parts of some countries, but in others, specific locations stand out. The map of Iraq is largely dark, indicating limited use of the Strava app, but a series of well-known military bases where American and allied forces have been deployed as part of their war against the Islamic State (IS) group are highlighted in detail. These include Taji north of Baghdad, Qayyarah south of Mosul and Al-Asad in Anbar Province. Smaller sites also appear on the map in northern and western Iraq, indicating the presence of other, lesser-known installations.