London, England – The UK Ministry of Defence has issued a 13-page guide for troops warning of the dangers of spilling state secrets on social networking sites.
“Service and MOD civilian personnel are encouraged to talk about what they do within certain limits to protect security, reputation and privacy,” says the guide. “Such online presences provide an opportunity for Service and MOD civilian personnel to explain their work. But they also carry risks to individuals, to their Service and to Defence.
“Service and MOD civilian personnel are already using online presences and Defence information is entering the public domain unofficially. Guidelines are therefore required.”
While the Online Engagement Guidelines encourages service personnel to use networks such as Facebook and Twitter, it warns them “to follow the same high standards of conduct and behaviour online as would be expected elsewhere,” and to “maintain personal information and operational security and be careful about the information they share online.”
Military bosses say serving troops do not need to seek permission to use Facebook or Twitter, but to avoid publishing operational details and to avoid mentioning details such as rank and to avoid publishing “anything you wouldn’t be happy for your parents or your children to see.”
“Service and MOD civilian personnel are encouraged to talk about what they do, but within certain limits to protect security, reputation and privacy. An increasingly important channel for this engagement, and to keep in touch with family and friends is social media.”