While the nation’s leading Internet communicators ask the government to exercise some restraint in surveillance, the government is asking members of the military to watch their own communications.
Loose lips may sink ships, the U.S. Central Comand says, but “loose tweets sink fleets.”
And, of course, CentCom has tweeted its advice.
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) December 9, 2013
“Once an idea leaves your head and goes out into the atmosphere, you can’t control who can access that information again,” Army Capt. Andrew Harris, an intelligence officer with the 10th Mountain Division, is advising forces. “In most cases, your immediate surroundings and the people you know will be fine. They won’t do any harm with it, but you don’t know who they’re going to turn around and tell.”
It’s all about operations security, CentCom says: ”OPSEC, as it’s commonly referred as, is the deliberate process of identifying information that can be used against you and protecting it. In the social media era, OPSEC is more important, and more difficult, than ever. We must be concerned with both whom we talk to and what we put on the internet. The flow of information from one side of the world to another is now as easy as a few keystrokes and only takes seconds.”
“Social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram have a constant flow of up-to-the-second information which could provide critical details to people looking to disrupt America’s interests.”
“Our biggest concern is Facebook, right now,” says Sgt. 1st Class Ray Martinez, an intelligence noncommisioned officer in the 10th Mountain. “Violent extremist organizations in general are very active on Facebook.”
See more on CentComm’s guidance to the troops on social media.