30 January 2018
Concerns over the Strava fitness tracking app compromising military locations worldwide may extend to Singapore, but the way forward is to adapt rather than regulate, said security experts on Tuesday (Jan 30).
In November 2017, Strava tapped public user data to launch a global visual heatmap. The aim was to display popular exercise routes, but last weekend it was pointed out the heatmap also included military personnel running or cycling with their smartphones or fitness trackers such as Fitbit – thus exposing the location and layout of covert military bases globally.
Security and military expert Dr Graham Ong-Webb said that while there was “some concern”, he was “fairly confident things are still ok”.
“Yes, there may be a risk, because this heatmap creates a greater degree of transparency,” said the research fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
“But does it tell you what kind of sensitive military equipment and technology exist inside the camps? No. Even if you know what’s inside, the question is can you get to it?”
Cybersecurity expert Mr Eugene Tan, also of RSIS, said: “Even if we banned fitness apps, would the blackout area … not become a sensitive area that raises suspicions? A ban would then be counter-productive.
“Having a blanket ban would be shortsighted because we should be able to use technology for our own good, like pace our runs, watch our heart rates, etc. These are the unintended consequences that all governments have to deal with, and not just Singapore.”
“We need to more nimble around technology as a nation, and not jump to ban everything,” he continued. “Technologies are going to evolve, and the challenge is how we live with them, not without.”
CENS / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 31/01/2018