Senators Urge Pentagon to Expand Scrutiny of Fitness Apps that Can Reveal Sensitive Military Sites

'We are concerned DoD Wi-Fi base stations could be mapped unwittingly by service members'

Image Credits: David Gleason / Flickr.

Two members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday urged the Pentagon to expand its investigation into the use of wireless devices at military installations after reports emerged that fitness apps can unwittingly reveal the locations and movements of U.S. troops.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Sens. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) imparted their concerns over revelations that Android phones continuously collect and send to Google precise user location data, including GPS coordinates and nearby Wi-Fi networks.

The senators cited recent reports that stressed the difficulty for an average user to opt out of the location sharing capabilities and said there is a “strong likelihood” that most service members using Android phones “are sending precise location and activity data to Google, and, by extension, all divisions of its parents company, Alphabet.”

They said recent testimony from Google’s senior vice president and general counsel raised concerns the company lacks safeguards that could prevent the location data of U.S. troops and diplomatic personnel deployed overseas from being stored in foreign databases, including those located in adversarial countries such as Russia or China.

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