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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: DOD bans geolocation devices in operational areas (Article)
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Author Topic: DOD bans geolocation devices in operational areas (Article)  (Read 1482 times)
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,568

« on: August 07, 2018, 09:46:25 AM »

Is this something that may be soon-to-come in CAP as an official policy?

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/06/politics/pentagon-fitbit-app-geolocating-ban/

Quote
Washington (CNN)The Pentagon is banning deployed personnel from using fitness trackers, smartphones and potentially even dating apps that use geolocating features that could reveal the user's location.

The ban was announced in a Pentagon memorandum issued Friday and signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
"Effective immediately, Defense Department personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on government and non-government-issued devices, applications and services while in locations designated as operational areas," the policy memo said.

The Pentagon said in January it was reviewing policies regarding such devices after it was revealed that Strava, a fitness tracking app that maps people's exercise habits, may have inadvertently revealed the locations of security forces around the world.

"It goes back to making sure we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage and we're not showcasing the exact location of our troops worldwide," Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday.

"This is all electronic devices that have geolocating features, basically GPS enabled devices, applications, that type of thing," Manning added.
While the devices themselves will not be banned, service members will be responsible for ensuring their geolocation features are disabled.
Many popular devices and applications, including smartphones, smart watches, fitness and dating apps use geolocation and some applications could potentially not work with the geolocation features turned off.

The new policy says the ban applies to all personnel in "operational areas," which Manning said "absolutely" includes troops deployed overseas.

Manning said that commanders would have some flexibility with regard to enforcing the ban and punishing potential violators.
"It would depend on how egregious the infraction was obviously, but again, commanders are given some latitude within the policy," he said.

The memo does say that Combatant Commanders, who oversee US troops around the world, could authorize the use of the devices, but only after conducting "a threat-based comprehensive Operations Security survey."

The ban would not affect military and civilian personnel in places like the Pentagon.

I recall this topic having come up back in January (as the article stated), and it was a Safety Education topic regarding OPSEC for our unit. But at that time, the military's push was to limit usage of fitness apps in deployment areas/FOBs.

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arajca
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,308

« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2018, 10:06:06 AM »

I would doubt CAP tries to enact the same thing as we don't have the same concerns, i.e. bad guys trying to get us.
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jeders
Global Moderator

Posts: 2,118

« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2018, 10:33:23 AM »

Is this something that may be soon-to-come in CAP as an official policy?

I can see it happening just as soon as CAP deploys to war zones (i.e. never).
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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,349

« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2018, 11:22:21 AM »

Is this something that may be soon-to-come in CAP as an official policy?

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/08/06/politics/pentagon-fitbit-app-geolocating-ban/

Quote
Washington (CNN)The Pentagon is banning deployed personnel from using fitness trackers, smartphones and potentially even dating apps that use geolocating features that could reveal the user's location.

The ban was announced in a Pentagon memorandum issued Friday and signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan.
"Effective immediately, Defense Department personnel are prohibited from using geolocation features and functionality on government and non-government-issued devices, applications and services while in locations designated as operational areas," the policy memo said.

The Pentagon said in January it was reviewing policies regarding such devices after it was revealed that Strava, a fitness tracking app that maps people's exercise habits, may have inadvertently revealed the locations of security forces around the world.

"It goes back to making sure we're not giving the enemy an unfair advantage and we're not showcasing the exact location of our troops worldwide," Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters Monday.

"This is all electronic devices that have geolocating features, basically GPS enabled devices, applications, that type of thing," Manning added.
While the devices themselves will not be banned, service members will be responsible for ensuring their geolocation features are disabled.
Many popular devices and applications, including smartphones, smart watches, fitness and dating apps use geolocation and some applications could potentially not work with the geolocation features turned off.

The new policy says the ban applies to all personnel in "operational areas," which Manning said "absolutely" includes troops deployed overseas.

Manning said that commanders would have some flexibility with regard to enforcing the ban and punishing potential violators.
"It would depend on how egregious the infraction was obviously, but again, commanders are given some latitude within the policy," he said.

The memo does say that Combatant Commanders, who oversee US troops around the world, could authorize the use of the devices, but only after conducting "a threat-based comprehensive Operations Security survey."

The ban would not affect military and civilian personnel in places like the Pentagon.

I recall this topic having come up back in January (as the article stated), and it was a Safety Education topic regarding OPSEC for our unit. But at that time, the military's push was to limit usage of fitness apps in deployment areas/FOBs.


You did read this before you posted it right?  It only covers DOD personnel who are deployed. You can still use your geolocation devices if you're not deployed.
Last time I looked, CAP is "non-deployable".
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,568

« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2018, 11:24:54 AM »

I was thinking less of deployments and more of Homeland Security/FEMA-based operations, or activities conducted at military facilities. I guess there is always that possibility of the host agency simply instructing CAP members to "turn off x-device/location features."

Now, I do think some people are way overzealous when it comes to using the term "OPSEC," and don't quite understand its meaning, especially as it relates to actual security of sensitive information or physical security of persons. Maybe it's a "feel good/super hooah" term for some folks who think their mission has more value. And perhaps they mistake OPSEC for "privacy."

I see that the article expressed that the geolocation restriction is not applicable to 'places such as the Pentagon.' So I'm curious as to the protocols for conducting an Encampment at, say, Tyndall AFB (totally just a random example). What about in CAP aircraft?


You did read this before you posted it right?  It only covers DOD personnel who are deployed. You can still use your geolocation devices if you're not deployed.
Last time I looked, CAP is "non-deployable".

Yes, the article says "deployed." But it also says "operational areas." That isn't just reserved for combat operations theaters. Could that be a domestic AO?

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Spam
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,145
Unit: GA-001

« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2018, 11:44:48 AM »


Hi, SkyHornet.

If you look at the history of IMINT/HUMINT gathering, analysts have reportedly looked for patterns of human use and behavior as indications of activity which betray either strategic or operational activities. For example: the number, patterns, and timing of cars parked in specific lots around specific facilities and hangars, the number of heat signatures coming from specific areas, that sort of thing, can reveal sensitive operations not disclosed by countries.

As far as a direct threat, the possibility of people on the internet using publicly available fitbit or other GPS (time/position tagged) data to map out those patterns has now been seen as a vulnerability. For example, if a number of people are seen to go jogging around the base perimeter inside the wire, every day at 1100 local time, that allows for some educated guesses to be made about the total number of people there, their routine, and possibly their ID by name and correlation with other information to reveal specialties/units/assignments. THAT is a true OPSEC bust.

None of these measures are really applicable to CAP in any way.  No one gathers operational pattern data to plan mortar attacks from outside the wire on groups of encampment cadets jogging, and no one really cares about plotting/logging/analyzing concentrations of CAP personnel at an RSC. 

So... no, nothing to see here, no action for CAP. No hand waving required (as is true with almost all CAP "OPSEC" discussions).

R/s,
Spam

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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,568

« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 11:51:56 AM »


Hi, SkyHornet.

If you look at the history of IMINT/HUMINT gathering, analysts have reportedly looked for patterns of human use and behavior as indications of activity which betray either strategic or operational activities. For example: the number, patterns, and timing of cars parked in specific lots around specific facilities and hangars, the number of heat signatures coming from specific areas, that sort of thing, can reveal sensitive operations not disclosed by countries.

As far as a direct threat, the possibility of people on the internet using publicly available fitbit or other GPS (time/position tagged) data to map out those patterns has now been seen as a vulnerability. For example, if a number of people are seen to go jogging around the base perimeter inside the wire, every day at 1100 local time, that allows for some educated guesses to be made about the total number of people there, their routine, and possibly their ID by name and correlation with other information to reveal specialties/units/assignments. THAT is a true OPSEC bust.

None of these measures are really applicable to CAP in any way.  No one gathers operational pattern data to plan mortar attacks from outside the wire on groups of encampment cadets jogging, and no one really cares about plotting/logging/analyzing concentrations of CAP personnel at an RSC. 

So... no, nothing to see here, no action for CAP. No hand waving required (as is true with almost all CAP "OPSEC" discussions).

R/s,
Spam

Ha. As I said. "OPSEC" gets way overused  :P

But I totally agree with you there. It's not something that really has a major impact on CAP that I know of. I don't regularly work in Emergency Services (okay, like never), nor DHS/Counter-drug. I figured worst-case scenario would be something involved on the DHS front.

Fair enough on all points made from everyone above. The article just peaked my curiosity about things I'm very unfamiliar with in the CAP line of things.

I got asked recently by an ES project manager what my skills and expertise are. I said, "My experience mostly comes from my day job. But as far as CAP goes, I'm effectively useless in Emergency Services."
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CAPLTC
Forum Regular

Posts: 166
Unit: MER

« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2018, 04:29:21 PM »

Look at the FaceBook presence of MANY military units and tell me about OPSEC.
OPSEC has become a joke.
I agree that these services too conveniently aggregate a shocking amount of information in a very public way...
But ... None of the bases and PT routes are even a secret.
The locals KNOW we are there, they know where we run, they know more about us than we do.
It is FAR more than just fitness trackers. There are 1000000 other apps that can and do the exact same thing.
Etc etc etc...
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"Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they’re so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact." -- SECDEF Mattis
francisderosa16
Member

Posts: 77
Unit: NER-MA-022

« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2018, 09:09:30 PM »

No, and for what I think, CNN if fake news.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,568

« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2018, 10:59:24 AM »

No, and for what I think, CNN if fake news.

Because that was an intelligent statement, Cadet...  ::)
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lordmonar
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,659

« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2018, 01:39:49 PM »

Amazing.....another completely unenforcable policy.

 
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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
JayT
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,338

« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2018, 01:41:25 PM »

No, and for what I think, CNN if fake news.

I don't get it, is this new slang?
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"Eagerness and thrill seeking in others' misery is psychologically corrosive, and is also rampant in EMS. It's a natural danger of the job. It will be something to keep under control, something to fight against."
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,349

« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2018, 02:22:07 PM »

Amazing.....another completely unenforcable policy.

Oh, it's enforceable, be prepared to leave your electronics at home.
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Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,293
Unit: Worry

« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2018, 04:42:42 PM »

Amazing.....another completely unenforcable policy.

Oh, it's enforceable, be prepared to leave your electronics at home.

Or they just monitor these databases, look for the signs of failure to comply, and set themselves up on the geolocated path on schedule with a copy of the reg being broken...
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lordmonar
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 10,659

« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2018, 05:38:31 PM »

Amazing.....another completely unenforcable policy.

Oh, it's enforceable, be prepared to leave your electronics at home.

Quote
"This is all electronic devices that have geolocating features, basically GPS enabled devices, applications, that type of thing," Manning added.
While the devices themselves will not be banned, service members will be responsible for ensuring their geolocation features are disabled.
Many popular devices and applications, including smartphones, smart watches, fitness and dating apps use geolocation and some applications could potentially not work with the geolocation features turned off.

Not enforceable.

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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
Pacific Region
TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,568

« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2018, 10:08:20 AM »

Whoa, guys. Are we talking about 'enforceable' in CAP or DOD?

I think we established that this isn't going to roam into the realm of Civil Air Patrol. But as far as DOD goes, it's absolutely enforceable.
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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,349

« Reply #16 on: August 28, 2018, 12:03:30 PM »

Whoa, guys. Are we talking about 'enforceable' in CAP or DOD?

I think we established that this isn't going to roam into the realm of Civil Air Patrol. But as far as DOD goes, it's absolutely enforceable.

Enforceable for DOD personnel who are deployed.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,568

« Reply #17 on: August 28, 2018, 12:41:36 PM »

Whoa, guys. Are we talking about 'enforceable' in CAP or DOD?

I think we established that this isn't going to roam into the realm of Civil Air Patrol. But as far as DOD goes, it's absolutely enforceable.

Enforceable for DOD personnel who are deployed.

No disagreement on my end.

Just wondering if people on the post are mixing up the two different organizations here.
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: DOD bans geolocation devices in operational areas (Article)
 


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