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American Troops Banned From Using Geo-location Software On Deployment

American soldiers on deployment have been banned from using GPS-enabled devices, including phone applications that can track an individual's...

US troops Afghanistan

US soldiers in Afghanistan (Picture: US Department of Defense). 

American soldiers on deployment have been banned from using geo-location software, including phone applications that can track an individual's location.

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Robert Manning III told reporters: 

“Effective immediately, Defense Department personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on government and nongovernment-issued devices, applications and services while in locations designated as operational areas."

Location of personnel can be tracked by the use of specific apps (Picture: PA).
Location of personnel can be tracked by the use of specific apps (Picture: PA).

The announcement means use of such software will be banned whilst in "operational areas", meanwhile commanders will determine other areas where the devices can or cannot be used.

There have been numerous concerns over the security of technology used by military personnel, with the GPS-tracking through smart phone applications at the forefront of the issue.

Earlier this year, the fitness app 'Strava' appeared to reveal the movements of soldiers stationed at foreign military bases in countries like Afghanistan and Syria. 

Last week, reports suggested secrets had been revealed on the UK's F-35B fighter jet aircraft via the dating app 'Tinder'.

However, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) denied the claims saying "no secrets" had been stolen and that "no F-35 information of a sensitive or classified nature has been disclosed via a dating site."

The F35 fighter jet is a key part of the Modernising Defence Programme (Picture: Ministry of Defence/Crown Copyright).
No secrets were stolen on the F-35B according to the MoD (Picture: MoD/Crown Copyright).

Colonel Manning also said: “The rapidly evolving market of devices, applications and services with geolocation capabilities presents a significant risk to the Department of Defense personnel on and off duty, and to our military operations globally.

The US Department of Defense said GPS apps can expose personal information, locations, routines and numbers of personnel and that use overseas could “potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission”.