I often see status updates on Facebook that make me scratch my head. They range from the mind numbingly banal to the shockingly candid. But last week a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (for which I have fond memories) took the prize.
This Israeli soldiers particular update was covered widely in the Israeli press as well as international media. What did it entail? He updated his friends on Facebook via his cellphone that a force from his elite battalion was expected to be moving in to a particular village to apprehend suspected terrorists. Here's the update:
“On Wednesday, we are cleaning out [the name of the village] – today an arrest operation, tomorrow an arrest operation and then, please God, home by Thursday.”
The battalion's Information Security Officer caught wind of the post and notified Command (kudos on the Information Leakage catch!). Fearing that the force was put at risk, the commander called off the mission.
The soldier's fate? Tried and incarcerated for 10 days and kicked out of his unit.
This was not a lone example of such breaches of operational security in the IDF via the Internet. A number of other incidents led the IDF to engage in a wide educational campaign among soldiers on the dangers of information leakage on the Internet. The IDF brass has admitted it is a daunting challenge to monitor the flow of information and the information posted on Internet sites and social networks. They hope education and stiff penalties will help deter the dissemination of classified or sensitive information by the troops.
Maybe the IDF needs to have the soldiers uninstall Facebook and Twitter apps from their cellphones?
Remember men: "loose social networks, sink ships."