Science and Technology News

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Tag, You’re it! How The Enemy Uses Social GeoTagging for Targeting

Location-based apps are all the rage these days: "check in" services are becoming more and more popular, your photos can be easily geotagged, and that's not even to mention a little scandal Apple dealt with last year regarding exactly how much location information the iPhone stores. While this trend might not materially affect the average citizen, it can literally be a life-or-death situation for a certain segment of the population — the armed forces. The US Army has issued a statement warning the troops against using locations services on their mobile devices, noting that deployed service members need to be more aware of the world of social media and potentially security concerns surrounding the use of apps like Facebook and Foursquare. For example, the simple act of uploading a photo to Facebook (something most people do without even thinking about it) could tip off the location of an entire unit.

While this may sound obvious to those familiar with the intricacies of location services, the army already has at least one example of the danger of uploading sensitive photos to the internet. Back in 2007, soldiers took photos of a fleet of new helicopters that arrived at a base in Iraqi and posted them online — enemy forces were able to determine the exact location of the choppers and destroyed four of them in an attack. The Army isn't forcing its soldiers to avoid these services entirely, though it does recommend excersizing due caution, like not sharing location with anyone you don't know in real life and disabling the geotagging features on your smartphone. While geotagging features are certainly handy sometimes, they certainly aren't worth risking one's life over, especially if you're an active soldier in the armed forces.

Via The Verge (

No comments:

Post a Comment