Think of it as the “loose lips sink ships” of the modern era.
The British Ministry of Defence has taken to the internet to warn social media users of the dangers of casually Twittering, Facebooking or Foursquare-ing about potentially sensitive information. The agency posted a series of YouTube videos illustrating hypothetical situations wherein inadvertent sharing of information leads to dire consequences.
The Guardian sums up one of the clips involving communications between a deployed soldier and his mother:
“Hi Mum, hope you’re well,” writes Mark. “Just posted some new pics, the tan is coming along nicely as you can see. Big day tomorrow at FOB Jackson, major V VIP stuff happening so we’re all on our best behaviour, see you soon.”
Mark has obviously committed the first offence. But mum also forgets to keep, well, mum – sharing the message with all of her friends.
And the consequence of such rash behaviour? She is seen on the sofa, chatting away with an armed terrorist over tea and cakes.
In another, the looming danger of check-ins is addressed:
Two sailors are off for a night out on the town, messaging friends that they are just leaving their ship, and telling them which nightclub they are heading to. The friends are then joined on the dancefloor by two balaclava-wearing men, waving machine guns over their heads. “Is it just your mates who know where you have checked in?” the film asks.
A spokesman for the MoD elaborated on why the Ministry felt the need to address the issue of social media and such information:
“There have been cases recently when people have given away details of when a ship is due home, or when a plane is about to land,” said a spokesman. “These things happen in the excitement of homecomings and are unintentional. But we don’t want to give the enemy the edge. We’re just asking servicemen and women, and their families, to be a little more circumspect when they use these sites.”
Have you seen information shared in such a fashion that you thought was risky or ill-thought out? Is it only a matter of time before open social media sharing allows for a major security breach?