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New DOD policy prohibits GPS-enabled devices in
deployed settings
WASHINGTON -- Deployed service members are going to have to ditch their "geolocation devices" in response to a new memo from Deputy
Defense Secretary Patrick M. Shanahan.

This includes physical fitness aids, applications in phones that track locations, and other devices and apps that pinpoint and track the
location of individuals.

"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," Pentagon spokesman Army
Col. Robert Manning III told Pentagon reporters yesterday.

Deployed personnel are in "operational areas," and commanders will make a determination on other areas where this policy may apply.

The market for these devices has exploded over the past few years, with many service members incorporating them into their workout
routines. They use the devices and applications to track their pace, running routes, calories burned and more. These devices then store
the information and upload it to central servers where it can be shared with third parties. That information can present enemies with
information on military operations.


"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," Manning said.

These Global Positioning System capabilities can expose personal information, locations, routines and numbers of DOD personnel. Their
use in overseas locations "potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission," Manning

Personal phones and other portable devices also contain apps that rely on GPS technology, and they will be affected. Commanders will be
responsible for implementing the policy, and they will be allowed to make exceptions only after conducting a thorough risk assessment.

Security is at the heart of this guidance. DOD is seeking a balanced way that allows for legitimate official and personal uses of geolocation
Manning said the department will continue to study the risk associated with these devices and change the policy as needed.
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New DOD policy prohibits GPS-enabled devices in deployed settings