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FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the Pentagon building in Washington, June 15, 2005. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon said on Monday it was reviewing whether it needed to bolster its security protocols after fitness tracking devices broadcast patterns of movement of U.S. personnel at American military facilities around the world, including in war zones.

Nathan Russer, a student at the Australian National University in Canberra, drew attention to data when he wrote on Twitter about the images after stumbling upon GPS tracking company Strava's Global Heatmap. It can be viewed at http://bit.ly/2DLOHZ5

"Once you look at Syria you can see a bunch of bright spots," Russer said.

His discovery prompted others to scour the heat map, turning up other possible locations of U.S. personnel, including in elsewhere in the Middle East and in Africa.

The Department of Defense, which has disclosed the presence of U.S. forces in Syria, said it encourages all defense personnel, wherever they are, to limit their public presence on the internet. That guidance is even more strict when troops operate in sensitive locations.

"DOD takes matters like these very seriously and is reviewing the situation to determine if any additional training or guidance is required," the Pentagon said in a statement, without directly confirming that U.S. troops had used the fitness trackers.

The Pentagon also said it was considering whether additional steps needed to be taken on the matter "to ensure the continued safety of DOD personnel at home and abroad."

(Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Will Dunham)

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