Strava, the world most popular social network for sportmen, published an impressive survey of their users at the end of the last year in the form of a global map building upon the data of over one billion records of motional activities. Seemingly unharmless material called Global Heatmap enables the users of Strava application discovering interesting tracks in their neighbourhood and finding out about sporting in different parts of the world. It soon turned out that the map presents a safety risk.
The Strava application is currently being used by millions of cyclists and joggers across the world. The company’s statistics show that in 2017 16 records from sport testers or mobile phones using GPS were uploaded on their servers. At the end of the year the company’s developers processed all the available data and created a map out of them that subsequently clearly displayed not only an exact course of the tracks of their users but also the frequencies which they were moving upon them with. And that is right what presents the aforementioned risk. It turned out that the material provides not just the tracks of the civil excercise lovers but also the one of soldiers at military bases at uninhabited areas who often do not use the tools for personal protection. Any enemy is then able to, in theoretical terms, conclude both the location of the base and the most frequently inhabited part of the base as well.
Strava made a statement about the issue via their executive trade director James Quarles. He assured everyone that the company is approaching the issue in a responsible way and is planning on discussing the fate of the potentially sensitive data with the governments and militaries. He also promised that Strava will keep informing their users about the options of virtual protection in a more intensive way and will progress with simplifying the setting of these functions in the application.
If you recognise youselves as a fan of the app, you may find a detailed guide of the privacy setting on the Strava blog.
When experiencing a long winter evening, we recommend visiting the abovementioned Global Heatmap which perfectly illustrates the world wide popularity of sports.