Move designed to "safeguard well-being" of armed forces personnel.
The Indian Army has reportedly asked all its personnel to quit social networking websites with immediate effect. It has directed them to refrain from joining social networking websites including Facebook, Orkut, and Google+ in future too. The move comes as an effort to "safeguard the well-being" of army personnel.
According to sources, the Indian Army had been monitoring the social networking activities of its officers to find out if they posted uniformed photos of themselves, weaponry, or other units for the past few months. It has now decided to issue a blanket ban on all such websites throughout the ranks. It is not yet clear if the army will rely on self-censorship to be practised by its men or if it will restrict access at its end. However, it has been said that violations to this directive will be dealt with strictly.
Incidentally, it is not only the Indian Army that has imposed such restrictions. A couple of days ago, US Army personnel were also advised by their top brass to exercise restraing in using FB. It has been posited that this information can be used by terrorist organisations such as Al Qaeda to target army units. They suggested certain strategies, duplicated below:
Adjust the privacy settings to Only Me or Friends.
Remove any personally identifiable data that gives away too much information about you or your family.
Avoid sharing details about bases and capabilities by not posting photos of or details about formations, quarters, armoured vehicles, and \ or weapons.
Disable the GPS feature on your mobile device or turn off tagging or tracking applications on your Facebook account that give your exact location.
Educate yourself, your friends and your family about what is and isn't safe to share on Facebook or any other social networking platform.
These measures could also apply to the Indian armed forces in order to secure themselves against terrorist elements. Indeed, it would be a better way to go, rather than issuing a total ban on social networking. That being said, there is a difference between how the internet is viewed by both armies. This is evident from the fact that the US Army has an official FB page, while the Indian Army does not.