MOD To Encourage British Troops To Use Twitter & Blogs

The Ministry of Defence has issued a document that spells out the usage by British troops of social networking websites like Twitter or Facebook to inform a global audience about their activities.

The 13-page document (PDF) is similar to the one published by Neil Williams, the head of corporate digital channels at the department of Business, Innovation and Skills back in July for public servants.

In it, MoD personnel are encouraged to talk about the role they play but "within certain limits to protect security, reputation and privacy".

The document also suggests the introduction of sponsored blogs for various services to describe what they do on a day-to-day basis. These would require official approval and would "work best if they focus on that individual's contribution to the wider effort".

Whether the MoD personnel will abide by these rules remains to be seen especially if the enemy uses smart tactics, like using spam, phishing or fake followers or account, to either blackmail, corrupt or obtain information by deceit.

In contrast, US Marines have been banned from using Twitter, Facebook and other social networking websites because these sites increase the risk of leaking out information to the enemy.

It is unclear whether allowing British Troops to use Twitter is a way of distracting the public and the army from the fundamental issues affecting the army.

The document in itself is only a guideline and actively encouraging the use of social networking websites could sooner or later prove disastrous.

Furthermore, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to monitor all blog posts and tweets coming from troops who might have inadvertently communicated or posted photos of a very sensitive nature.

Last but not least, these details (some of which are personal) could be used by rogue agents, terrorists and intelligence agencies to target the personnel and their families as it was the case for the plot to kidnap and kill a Muslim soldier from the British army.