Thursday, March 4, 2010

TMI - some info shouldn't be realtime

February 2009 - "Just landed in Baghdad" tweeted Peter Hoekstra while on a 'secret' trip to Iraq. The media was aware of the trip, but agreed to embargo the information until after they arrived back in the U.S. for the safety of the congressmen. Since the congressman started tweeting before they left, the newspapers needn't have bothered.

March 3, 2010 - "On Wednesday we clean up Qatanah, and on Thursday, god willing, we come home," the soldier wrote on his Facebook page, refering to a West Bank village near Ramallah. That's from a story on Haaretz.com regarding a Facebook security breach. The mission the young man (he may not be a soldier, now) mentioned has been scrapped. According to Robert Mackey on the The Lede such details as the units name and the time of the raid were also revealed.

In the first case, Senator Hoekstra was former head, and senior member of the House intelligence committee. You would think a man with that kind of background would have more sense than to tweet details of his Baghdad itinerary. In the second, you would think a young soldier would be aware that posting details of an upcoming mission on Facebook would be a severe security breach - and could even be considered treason. But I wonder. How many of us actually realize how available things we put on Facebook and twitter really are? Do we really understand that what we put on Twitter and Facebook can be seen by just about anyone? With all the foolish things being put up on Facebook and Twitter, the real surprise isn't that two people posted national security breaking info on social networking sites, it's that we don't see a lot more of this happening.

I'm sure that most of my readers aren't in a position to spill national secrets, but spilling your own secrets can be bad enough. Think before you post on any site, and avoid the embarrassment of foot in mouth.