Security risk: Fitness app shows Dutch military patrol routes in Mali

Camp Castor near Gao in Mali, where Dutch soldiers are on mission
Camp Castor near Gao in Mali, where Dutch soldiers are on mission. (Photo: Defensie)

When popular fitness app Strava released its Global Heatmap, showing the activities of a billion cyclists and joggers around the world, late last year, the company likely didn't realize that it may also be revealing the location or patrol routes of military or strategic bases. For example, the Global Heatmap shows popular routes walked around a camp in Gao in Mali, where Dutch soldiers are on mission, AD reports.

Something that Strava maybe did not think about, is that a lot of activity in sparsely populated areas, or places where internet and smartwear are not commonplace, will be noticed. Many people on social media and other online forums are working on combining rumors, known information, and the Strata activity map to locate possible CIA facilities and the like, according to the newspaper. 

This is luckily not a problem for the Dutch soldiers in Mali, whose location is not a secret. The Ministry of Defense is aware of the Strava data being posted online and is keeping an eye on the situation, ministry spokesperson Paul Bezuijen said to AD. Defense will take measures should they prove necessary. "New techniques constantly require a risk assessment. Defense employees are regularly informed about the use and dangers of apps such as Strava", Bezuijen said.