Recently, the government agency that I work for has decided to allow their users to access social networking such as Facebook, twitter, and YouTube while on government computers. Accessing these sites previously was outlawed and normally blocked. Now suddenly we (government workers) are encouraged to use social networking to collaborate, share, and stay-in-touch/up-to-date. Quite a big change…and it has it merits for offices that need to reach out to those in deployed or remote locations. But the real question is, are we putting information out for the wrong sources to access? Is data being shared that could put us in jeopardy? Look at all the data that you can collect on one person just from their Facebook and twitter accounts. Some people list everything down to their blood type. Are government users revealing data about troops numbers, locations, plans, etc? Click to view Chinese Soldiers Prohibited from On-line Social Networking.
Most computer experts will tell you that the biggest consider for government users accessing social networking is the security risks for the system being hacked. Social networking is not big on security. How are the government security systems holding up under the pressure of social networking? Not well according to Danger Room, What’s Next In National Security, “Military May Ban Twitter, Facebook as Security ‘Headaches’“.
I am glad to be able to access social networking sites while on a government computer. However, I am NOT putting information out but just viewing it. I believe this is an important factor to keep in mind. I do believe that there are those that are watching and collecting data to use against our government. Each user of a social network has to remain diligent in keeping vital data off these sites. As to the answer if social networking is good or bad in military setting: I believe it all depends on the USER.