In a report from the Associated Press
, the Defense Department has approved new restrictions on electronic devices within the Pentagon. The memo, signed by Deputy Secretary Patrick Shanahan, primarily clarifies current procedures, procedures that state that phones be left in storage containers outside of secure areas, but instead of an outright ban, it dies state that cell phones can still be used in common areas, and other Pentagon offices where classified information is not present. The memo covers "laptops, tablets, cellular phones, smartwatches, and other devices" that are portable, can wirelessly transmit information and have "a self-contained power source."
An interesting thing is what caused the Defense Department to review the policies. In January we reported how fitness-tracking app Strava was inadvertently disclosing the location and layout of military installations
from soldiers using fitness trackers. Strava's global heat map showed scattered activity in war zones, suggesting that they could pinpoint military or government personnel.
I'm honestly surprised that these policies were not more heavily enforced prior to a fitness tracking app showing that an always on GPS enabled microphone with a high speed cellular internet connection being in a classified area may be a bad idea. I believe an outright ban would have been a better idea.
Posted by rgmekanic 3:24 PM (CDT)
"In this day and age, with the level of threat-based technologies, most of those devices should never get anywhere near a classified workspace," Garry Reid, the Pentagon’s director for defense intelligence, told The Associated Press in an interview. "We know that mobile wireless devices have recording capabilities and cameras and it’s not appropriate for those to be in secure workspaces. So we have to put control procedures in place."