The US military is concerned that the new location features in social networking sites could endanger the lives of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Air Force has warned on its internal web-site that the geo-location application “Places” in Facebook could give away troop positions to the enemy and the Army is considering a similar warning.
The Marine Corp has already banned the use of social networking sites and the Pentagon apparently considered a ban for all Armed Forces until it realised they could be used to collect information for themselves. Facebook settings controversially default to public sharing unless users set the privacy controls.
There are also risks off the battlefields of course with burglars allegedly making use of Facebook to check when people are on holiday. The French Police have been warned that using Facebook and Twitter could make them targets for foreign intelligence agencies.
In Israel the Israel Defence Force (IDF) has received some bad publicity via photos on Facebook but also pages revealing the names of soldiers who fought in the Gaza war. Now however it is turning the tables by using Facebook to track down draft dodgers. In particular people who claim exemption from compulsory national service on the grounds that they are religious. In Israel ultra-orthodox jews are allowed to avoid military service much to the annoyance of secular Israelis who have to serve 3 years (2 years for women).
The army has targeted women in particular as 42% are avoiding military service, 35% of them claiming religious grounds. So searching Facebook pages they find these women in non-kosher restaurants, wearing skimpy clothes, or writing updates on the Sabbath. The Army has also been sending out fake invitations to join parties on Friday nights, the beginning of Sabbath.
So far one thousand women have been caught out and technically they could be prosecuted.
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