Fitness app Polar revealed data on military, intelligence personnel

Fitness tracker Polar gives away identities & locations of military intelligence worldwide

Polar has also chose to temporarily suspend its explore function, but let's hope it's not too late.

This is so because the investigation team could precisely disclose the name, picture, and homes of Polar Flow app users residing in secretive locations "such as intelligence agencies, military bases and airfields, nuclear weapons storage sites, and embassies around the world".

"We found the names and addresses of personnel at military bases including Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Arbil in Iraq, Gao in Mali, and bases in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Chad, and South Korea", the report said. However, it's more to make you aware of what data these sorts of devices and services collect and may share publicly if you're not very vigilant about you use them.

This is stated in a joint study platforms Bellingcat and De Correspondent, writes "Ukrainian truth".

In fact researchers were able to uncover the names, addresses and other information of almost 6,500 users across 69 nationalities using the service.

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The map contains a security flaw allowing the researchers to access the data of people who had opted out of sharing their information publicly, including employee names and addresses working for the National Security Agency, the Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service (MIVD) and the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). The company also pointed out that the default setting on users' accounts is to keep all workouts private, so the users made a decision to share their activity. Moreover, they often limit the number of exercises that can be viewed. All one has to do to get a user's full movement history and information is navigate to a site on Polar Flow's map and select a profile there. Since the controversy surfaced, Polar has issued a statement denying the charges of any data leak and suspending its Explore API to prevent further issues. However they also managed to uncover information that was not part of the affected users' public profiles.

Polar responded to De Correspondent and Bellingcat's reporting by announcing that it was temporarily taking the workout map down. "While the decision to opt-in and share training sessions and Global Positioning System location data is the choice and responsibility of the customer, we are aware that potentially sensitive locations are appearing in public data, and have made the decision to temporarily suspend the Explore API".

It also stressed that the vast majority of its customers have been using the default private settings and will not have been impacted.

Emphasizing "the choice and responsibility of the customer" after your company has been exposed for recklessly sharing user data with potential bad actors is not a great look! Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.

L.V. Anderson is Digg's managing editor.

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