In this photo illustration the Strava logo is seen displayed… SOPA Images//Getty Images
A new paper from a trio of computer scientists at North Carolina State University claims that users of Strava are susceptible to anyone finding their personal information, despite the app’s efforts to allow users to anonymize things such as their home addresses.
A recent summary of the report points out that, while users start and end points (which are often their homes) can be hidden from the routes they post, the app’s heatmap function can be used to find what the report calls a “privacy loophole.” Related Story Strava vs. Digital Dopers
Strava’s heatmaps are a great tool to find new routes, especially when riding in a new city. And given that heatmaps use aggregate data to highlight the most traveled routes in a selected area, they don’t necessarily correlate to the ability to pinpoint a specific person. That is, you can’t see exactly who is riding along a heatmap’s routes. Just that those routes are being ridden. Video player poster image But in more sparsely populated areas or along less-traveled routes, it can be easy to pinpoint a specific person, according to the report.
“In a densely populated area, with lots of routes and lots of users, there is so much data that it would be extremely difficult to track any specific person,” senior author of the paper and assistant professor of computer science Anupam Das says. “However, in areas where there are few users […]