Our adversaries are trolling social networks, blogs and forums, trying to find sensitive information they can use about our military goals and objectives. Therefore, it is imperative that all Soldiers and Family members understand the importance of practicing good operations security measures.
-Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston
The above quote is contained in the U.S. Army Social Media Handbook, (pdf) published January 2011, which lays out a comprehensive set of guidelines for soldiers participating in social media. According to the the Handbook: The Army encourages members of the Army Family to use social media to connect and tell their stories, but it also advises everyone to do this in a safe
and secure manner.
This move by the Army follows a February 25, 2010, Department of Defense Directive-Type Memorandum (DTM) which provided guidelines for military use of social media and acknowledged
“that Internet-based capabilities are integral to operations across the Department of Defense.” The DTM clearly indicates that use of social media in the DoD is authorized.
While much of the specific policy governing soldiers’ is left to Army leaders, the Handbook provides some familiar advice:
- Take a close look at all privacy settings. Set security options to allow visibility to “friends only.”
- Do not reveal sensitive information about yourself such as schedules and event locations.
- Ask, “What could the wrong person do with this information?” and “Could it compromise the safety of myself, my family or my unit?”
- Geotagging is a feature that reveals your location to other people within your network. Consider turning off the GPS function of your smartphone.
- Closely review photos before they go online. Make sure they do not give away sensitive information which could be dangerous if released.
- Make sure to talk to family about operations security and what can and cannot be posted.
- Videos can go viral quickly, make sure they don’t give away sensitive information.
Many of the technological and personnel issues that concern the Army apply in the private sector, although for obvious reasons there can be far different consequences for the military (and for us). Still, having clear policies and thinking through how social media can affect your business is critical for today’s workplace.