Men in uniform warned on use of Orkut, Facebook

By Ritu Sharma, IANS,

New Delhi : They say nothing is personal in the cyber world. Everyone and anyone is vulnerable and can be hacked. Taking a cue, the Indian Army recently issued a circular asking its personnel not to post work-related information like ranks, place of posting etc on social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook.

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“The circular has been issued recently in a bid to create cyber awareness among the net users in the army. It has been sent to all the units of the army across the country,” a senior army official confirmed to IANS, requesting anonymity.

The circular has asked soldiers to remove such information from their networking profiles in case they have already posted it.

“With uploading of such information while opening an e-mail account or on their (networking) profiles the personnel put their own safety and national security in danger,” the official said.

The army estimates that nearly 35,000 of its 1.1 million soldiers, from all ranks, are active internet users.

“In the circular, the army personnel have been cautioned that in case they do not abide by the rules, disciplinary action will be taken against them,” the official added.

A soldier violating “good order and discipline” rules under the Army Act can be imprisoned for a term up to seven years.

Networking sites attract millions of users and have a huge appeal across all sections of society especially among the youth.

Generally in a bid to show off their credentials, young officers give away professional details, the official said.

The army has also asked the defence institutions to provide its men information on cyber security and list out do’s and don’ts of Internet use.

The circular has sparked a debate within the ranks of the army.

“If an engineer, doctor and lawyer can write what his profession is why can’t an armed forces personnel do so. However, one should not give other details like area of posting and nature of work,” a young officer said, on condition of anonymity.

However, another senior officer pointed out: “These officers, who reveal their profession forget one thing that anyone can get close to them online and extract sensitive information.”