Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Canada, Britain warn troops about posting personal information on social networking sites, blogs

Well, as in the movie "Southpark," Blame Canada! Reuters has a story of a Canadian Broadcasting Report that Canadian soldiers have been told not to post personal information on social networking sites such as Facebook. The story appeared Feb. 26 and the link is here.

All military operations have to be concerned about soldiers' posting details about military operations in their "grassroots journalism" that has become popular and a source of valuable information about the war in Iraq especially. This concern seems to be more about personal information. Canadian authorities are concerned that homes of servicemembers (and families) could be targeted. NBC4 reported this story tonight and also mention that Britain has told troops the same thing. It also was bookmarked on

Of course, some sources claim that this is simply a way to clamp down on information on the progress (or lack thereof) in the war. But it sounds like it is more about security for the soldiers themselves and their families, even at home.

This has not been reported by the media in the US. Because of the "don't ask don't tell" policy in the US military, American soldiers may not post information about gay sexual orientation on the Internet, but that would not itself be a concern in other Nato countries that have lifted the ban. This personal information (in this story) is more about home address, family members, and that sort of thing.

American teenagers and college students are told that they should not post such personal information on social networking sites because of family security from domestic problems.

However, concern from enemies (mainly radical Islam or Al Qaeda) that could represent personal risks for persons is more marked overseas, especially in Britain and perhaps France and the Netherlands , where Muslim assimilation has become a big social issue, as reported in Bruce Bawer's book "While Europe Slept." Author Salman Rushdie, living in England, has lived with threats from Islamic extremists because of his "blasphemous" writings. It's not clear that this is such an issue in Canada.

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