By Philippe Tremblay
Last week, it was reported that Strava’s heat maps were potentially exposing sensitive military information by revealing exact routes in detail. A week later, it appears that in an effort to address the matter of privacy, segments are now under review.
The segment feature allows athletes to select sections of their activities to become timed inside the activity tracking app which other users can challenge. Segments is one of the most popular features on Strava with users tracking their times on stretches of road, trail or the track to compare with their friends or other runners in the area. The athlete with the top time on a segment is awarded that point-to-point route.
One user on Reddit reported not being able to create a segment as first reported by the Verge. “We are reviewing features that were originally designed for athlete motivation and inspiration to ensure they cannot be compromised by people with bad intent,” Strava replied to a ticket submitted to customer support. It was the same statement Strava issued when Verge reached out for a comment on the matter. The segment creation problem may not be experienced by everyone.
The segment search is another feature that may be affected by the latest review of Strava’s privacy. Users can explore a map and use filters to find segments in their neighbourhood or somewhere they may be travelling to. If you are traveling to a mountainous area you may use the feature to search for notable climbs in the area while in urban areas it can be helpful to discover where people run. Like heat maps, it’s a valuable tool if you like mapping out runs to upload onto your navigation device or just exploring an area to gain valuable insight.
While the explore feature works, it appears Strava has filtered out less popular segments perhaps in an effort to protect users’ privacy. When reports first emerged that Strava’s heat map compromised military installations, the company’s CEO responded in a statement that Strava was, “committed to working with military and government officials to address potentially sensitive data.”
While the segment features are working intermittently, Strava is exploring ways to better protect users privacy and sensitive data.
This story originally appeared at cyclingmagazine.ca