Army warning on networking sites, officials posting info to face action


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Senior Member
Feb 12, 2009

Army warning on networking sites, officials posting info to face action

The Army has told its officers to keep off social networking sites and refrain from posting sensitive information like their rank, unit or posting location on the Internet. The instructions follow a spate of cyber attacks targeting military personnel and fears that foreign agencies could be tracking networking sites like Orkut and Facebook to home in on Army officers.

The instructions ask officers and soldiers to immediately delete all existing information, including their employment in the Army, which they may have already uploaded.

While similar orders have been issued earlier, the Army has decided to crack down on "defaulters" after recent cases of officers being targeted by cyber spy rings. Enforcers, however, have their task cut out for them given that hundreds of "defaulters" exist on various networking portals.

The most common "offences" that have been identified are Armymen posting details like ranks, postings, units, locations and training courses: A Colonel of the Corps of Engineers posted his name, rank and location on a networking forum; A young Lt not only posted photographs with his AK 47 in full combat uniform, revealing his unit name, but also posted his personal phone number; An officer of the Signals regiment gave out his location as Secunderabad and photographs posted on his profile gave out his rank as that of a Major; A Lt from the Guards regiment gave out his name, rank, unit and location on a networking portal; A Lt Col of the Armed Forces Medical Corps revealed that he was posted as a Joint Director at Army HQ in the Capital.

Some personnel who had bypassed earlier rules by posting just photographs in uniform, without mentioning their ranks or posting, have been warned that this too constitutes a breach in security. Counter-espionage agencies have been tasked with monitoring social networking portals strictly and initiating action against erring personnel.

Under the strict provisions of the Army Act, personnel can be dismissed from service and even face imprisonment for sharing sensitive information that can be accessed by outside agencies.

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