The contemporary world presents a revolution in the way people communicate with each other
This attributes to the inception of the social media. Although the change in communication, as a result of the social media networks has been in place for some time, it is surprising for many businesses, governmental bodies, and the general public. Research indicates that social media networks offer chances of survival for all fields of human existence. Such networks like Facebook and Twitter have both positive and negate implications, when it comes to security of people in the society. The defence forces face a wide range of challenges linked to responsible use of the social media networks.
One of the challenges that these defence forces face is inclined to the way commanders can develop techniques that recognize the change in the nature of welfare as a result of social media. Those militaries that have ignored the realities, suffer a great impact concerning security. Responsible use of the social media sites has an ability to help Armed Forces to better understand the surrounding of their operations. Based on this, social media may provide a chance for agile utilization of information in favour of their operations. In addition, the social media sites may be incorporated to help in achieving unity of attempts with parties in conflict. Putting in place innovative means to help to attain the required results in the Armed forces may be central to success in continually transforming the social media sites.
Social media sites transform the manner, in which information passes from one society to another globally. Fast spread of blogs, social networks, like Facebook, and other media sharing technologies that helped by the propagation of mobile technology, is as well transforming the circumstances, under which the United States of America conducts military operations. This is because the speed and transparency of data have gone to a new level. Activities that have for the past years remained secrets of the state are indefinitely being transmitted around the universe within minutes. This move changes the initial roles of the media, as a result of the ubiquitous nature of information transfer technology.
In this report, the focus is on the way Task Force Providers may use internet-based tools and social media sites in order to assure security of information to the general public. In the first place, it is imperative that commanders of Task Force Providers at all levels of operation continue to defend the system against all unauthorized activities. These activities usually have a great negative effect to the Army networks. The most important thing for the forces is to ensure that they limit unauthorised access to internet-based capacities. This, however, should remain a temporary practice, so that they make sure that there mission is to safeguard of preserve operations security.
As it is, social media sites in most cases are deployed in surroundings that are not in direct control by the Army. Because of this, it is critical that commanders, soldiers, and the general public linked to the Task Force Provider (for instance the 3rd Sustainment Brigade) follow the necessary guidelines outlined in the enclosures. This assures protection of Army networks to maintain security within the social environment. To better understand how Task Force Providers use the social media responsibly, it is crucial to look at some of the definitions within the field of the social media sites. These terms include the internet-based capabilities and the external official presences.
Internet-base capabilities within the Task Force Providers focus on all publicly reachable information, as well as applications. These capabilities are available across the Internet in the areas that are not owned, operated, or controlled by the Department of Defence (DOD) or the Federal Government. These capabilities include collaborative tools, like social media, user-generated information, social software, emails, instant messaging, and discussion forums. As mentioned earlier, the social media sites that require responsible utilization include such sites and applications like You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Apps.
On the other hand, the external official presences involve official public affairs activities carried out on a non-DOD site. All this remains within the internet domain. The external official presences are founded on the business venues for the purposes of establishing a transparent data-sharing environment, and at the same time, receiving feedback from the general populace.
It is imperative to note that social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter offer opportunities to a wide range of groups within the Task Force Providers to have personal information for use. This is especially evident for those groups targeting Army and Department of Defence users directly. Most literature reviews conducted by the Defence personnel on the organization’s reliance on the social media indicate a level of polarisation and inconsistencies. As a result, it is sensitive, when it comes to the use of social media. Some people have little knowledge about the potential extent and seriousness of communication in the sphere. There are many controversies within the defence on balancing between security and transparency. On the one hand, social media communication is seen as a jurisdiction matter, particularly concerning operations and corporate communication.
A specific subject matter on the use of the social media sites in Defence Forces present an elevated level of risk distaste about involvement in the social media that goes further to communicating with the general media. The two subjects, social media and security, appear to be linked with the Defence cultural practice. This is attributed to the security factor of the social media, as indicated by those, who moved into action initially on the theme within the organization. Therefore, all Task Force Providers have an individual responsibility to ensure that information that is crucial to the soldiers and which puts them at risk, or remains useful to the organizational information to incorporate controlled Unclassified Information, shall not reach discussions on any outside social website.
For purposes of responsible use of the social media sites, the following items form a section of information that should never be publicised in the social media sites:
- Classified information: this is information that has to remain within the required jurisdictions at all costs for security purposes. Release of such data to the general public may lead to insecurity bridges within the Defence Forces. Only specific people have access to this information so that any bridges can be accounted for;
- Casualty information before the next-of-kin has been formally notified. People that are beneficiaries of such information have an upper hand in reaching the information before it can be publicised. Use of such information in the social media site may amount to deformation and ultimate legal consequences. Such information must remain private to the personnel that is responsible for unveiling the information to the next-of-kin;
- Information protected by the Privacy Act: The Privacy Act prohibits some data from reaching the public due to security purposes. As a result, such information lies within the responsible use of the social media in that it should never be unveiled to the unauthorised personnel;
- Information regarding incidents under investigation: according to the Defence Force policy, information being investigated cannot at any incident reach the social media accessible by the public. This is because such information is not true until confirmed. For instance, a person arraigned in court is not guilty until proven otherwise;
- Other information to remain under authorised personnel includes: information for official use, personally identifiable information, tagged photos having geographical location, troop movement, and sensitive acquisition or contractual information.
Due to the instability of the social media sites, there are bodies within the Task Force Providers that have put in place policies to safeguard release of sensitive information into the social media. Such bodies include OPSEC and the Information Assurance. These policies must be followed based on the Army Regulations 25-2, 530-1, and 380-5. Defence Forces have an obligation to protect classified and sensitive data in all online communication sites. This is because online communication sites like .com domains are directly accessible by the general public. Such communications to the public are usually unverified and may lead to security breaches. The Defence is obliged not to overlook the manner, in which social media can be used in an official capacity. The personnel should ensure that messages to the organization are delivered without distortion through media interference. This cannot be attained if the Task Force Providers reveal classified information on the social media websites. The social media has a tradition of allowing information to be shared in all aspects and to any audience directly.
In spite of the mentioned regulations governing responsible use of the social media sites, as well as training materials provided to keep up with these policies, the Defence Forces still have a level of reliance on professional judgment. They also incorporate terms like sound judgment and common sense to describe responsible social media utilisation. Since these perspectives are subjective based on the individual interpretation, they cause some level of systemic risk in the responsible use of the social media sites within an organisation.
According to some members of the Defence Force, any misuse of the social media points to the incompetency of some particular generation. This is, for instance, a case affecting the young generation within the force. They assert that such people use the social media more often, as compared to the senior members of the Force. Irresponsible use of the social media results into serious security breaches. However, there is little evidence that misuse of social media sites to release classified information is attributed to the attitudinal issues. This misuse is the action of specific people within the organization. Such individual should be informed on the significance of protecting classified information to maintain security, so that they avoid such perceptions as using common sense. The protocol remains an imperative aspect in the Defence Forces for accountability purposes. This does not just cover actions in the field, but also includes information to be released to the public through the social media sites.
For purposes of identifying risks associated with misuse of the social media, as well as provision of advice on secure implementation, each body within the Task Force Provider committed to establishment of the EOP should contact the necessary IA manager and Privacy Act official. This is a requirement of the information security program that focuses on safeguarding and unveiling of classified and sensitive information. Through this, protection of data against unauthorised disclosure will be achieved. Compromising such information is the beginning of insecurity and instability within Defence Forces.
In relation to the internet-based capabilities, the following aspects are considered to be responsible social media use:
- Official utilization of Internet-based capabilities unrelated to public affairs is permitted. This includes the use of the internet-based capabilities for research purposes that concur with members of the public or link with other governmental bodies;
- Those people, who use internet-based capabilities for official use, should ensure that materials posted are accurate and relevant. This implies that such materials should avoid information that has not been approved for public release. To ensure that this is done, it is important for such people to liaise with the public affairs and OPSEC regulations to assure awareness of the activities and information being released to the public. On the other hand, it is crucial to provide link to official Army content hosted on the externally facing Army owned operated sites. This will ensure that individuals operate within their jurisdictions, as well as secure data that should not reach unauthorised persons;
- For purposes of liberty, soldiers, DOD employees, and contractors are allowed to establish individual accounts on the social media sites. Nevertheless, these personal accounts should not incorporate government email addresses. In addition, responsibility in the use of the social media sites requires that employees avoid the use of government logos or be used to carry out official business, release agency data, or be used as an official communication tool. All personnel within the government Defence Forces should be aware of the risk of exposing classified information to the social media sites. This will help them to be aware of the penalties associated with defiance of such policies from OPSEC and AI.
In conclusion, the social media sites have taken a large extent of the contemporary communication devises. The social media includes sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Apps. These sites serve a range of groups from individuals to corporate ones. The Defence Force is one of such organizations that rely on the social media sites for their communication. However, due to the security purposes, information to be released on the social media should be handled responsibly. As a result, a number of policies have been put in place to govern handling of classified information and sensitive data to the public. This has been the main concern of the discussion.