Another instance of the dangers of the use of social media has emerged, just at the time when the role of the social media in India is under much discussion. Taliban insurgents are using Facebook to gather crucial intelligence about the operations of coalition soldiers, and they are doing it rather differently. According to news.com.au, Taliban are posing as “attractive women” on the social networking site trying to forge a friendship with coalition soldiers. Going further, in a federal government review of social media and defence, which had been finalised but not released spoke at length about the dangers of social media use. The review goes to the extent of warning Australian troops to beware of such fake profiles.
The report pointed out that the personnel relied on privacy settings way too much to protect their confidential details. It also revealed that the families and friends of the soldiers too were ‘inadvertently jeopardising missions’ by sharing confidential details online. To them, the review advised that they need to be educated about the dangers of sharing crucial details such as names, ranks and locations online. Here it noted that this month three Australian soldiers were murdered inside their base, allegedly by an Afghan Army trainee.
Personnel being informed of social media dangers (Image credit: Getty Images)
Among other things, soldiers have also been warned about the dangers of the geo-tagging function, which is present on many websites, and secretly enters the location from the posts published and images uploaded.
In an even surprising mention, the report adds that several of the 1,577 defence members surveyed as part of the review had no awareness of the risk, while adding 58 percent of defence staff had no social media training. Importantly, surveyed troops added that social media uncover a “ whole can of worms when it comes to operational, personnel and physical security”.
The report added further, “Most did not recognise that people using fake profiles, perhaps masquerading as school friends, could capture information and movements. Few consider the possibilities of data mining and how patterns of behaviour can be identified over time.”
The report elaborates that many of them even pressed for a complete social media ban. One was even quoted as saying, “I see too many members who post info/pics of themselves which identify … what unit they belong to and where they are serving”.
As expressed earlier, the use of social media back home has become a topic of great discussion in recent times. The issue jumped to the fore yet again when it had been found that inflammatory, hateful content posted on social networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter triggered the widespread exodus of northeastern Indians in the country.
Reports coming in this morning revealed that the government had planned to block Twitter across eight states in the country. The 'inflammatory' content posted on Twitter was thought to be one of the main factors triggering the widespread exodus in the country. Interestingly, the Department of Electronics and IT (DEIT) had sought to bar the popular microblogging service across eight states in the country, namely, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The DEIT approached experts to know how to proceed with it, if at all it could be done.