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Friday, January 27, 2012

Social media and the Armed Forces : Need to refrain from knee-jerk reactions


The Indian Navy’s Facebook incident has again brought into light the subject of serving defence officers and the use of internet.

Though not in favour of making cyberspace free for uninhibited travel, I feel that the issue needs to be tackled in a holistic manner by maintaining an adequate amount of discretion but at the same time not losing touch with the necessities of modern life.

Press reports suggest that some kind of action is in the offing against the naval officers involved in the episode. In my opinion, two things need to be examined before the Navy proceeds in the matter. One, whether the information shared was such which was not already available in any public domain including the net or any military-related publication or journal, and two, whether there was any intention on the part of the officers to disseminate such information to persons who should not have been privy to the same.

More often than not, the call for action related to interaction of serving officers over the internet emanates from over-sensitive and touchy seniors who are not tech-savvy. Usually, such actions are merely knee-jerk reactions which are not in tune with the reality of the times.

So what is the way out? I feel there has to be a democratic inter-service debate on the issue and it should be discussed threadbare as to how broad guidelines could be incorporated which bring about a certain amount of cyber security taking into account our requirements of maintaining confidentiality in some areas, but at the same time not overly imposing an embargo on individual freedom and human interaction.

If this report is to be believed, then defence personnel are soon going to be asked not to comment on government or military policies. This attitude itself, in the past, has led to the constant derailment of military service from the pecking order as well as the absence of the military from the wish-list of job-seekers. Lack of discussion on issues affecting service-members has direct linkage with ignorance further leading to absence of exercise of rights where required and denial of benefits– the Sixth Pay Commission and its aftermath bears testimony to what I say. No, ignorance no longer remains bliss. If we continue treading this path, the future is not difficult to predict. Even otherwise, the statutory rules in this regard are surprisingly not archaic, despite the fact that these were promulgated in the 1950s. For example, the only prohibition in the Army is that, inter alia, service information is not to be communicated to the press or published in any book, letter, article or document without sanction of the Govt or an officer specified in this behalf (See Army Rule 21). Hence, there is no restriction whatsoever on discussion of any topic under the sun on any forum, the restriction is only on publication. Moreover, with the advancement of time, discussions on the internet or social networking sites are mere substitutes of drawing-room talk of the yesteryears. Times have changed and organisations must also march on.

Till the time our own decision makers (read imposers) become tech-savvy and net-educated, our military shall remain embodied in a time-warp. The US Army, which is handling much more sensitive missions domestically and abroad, and which has its fingers in many pies, has constructively used technology for betterment and openness. They have an official Army Blog and so do most of the other arms and services. The US Army also has a major presence on twitter while we are mulling banning the entire spectrum of social media.

While writing this, I am reminded of a tweet this morning by a retired officer. He felt that banning or curbing social media could become a major demotivating factor for youth aspiring to join the Army at all levels. This very important aspect is actually a point currently not even on our radar. We must find a practical and balanced solution in consonance with the times which would not only ensure personal freedom but also hands-on adherence to security requirements. If social media is taken as an enemy of security then so could be normal day to day human interaction, all types of computing devices and mobiles. Would be, or could we ban those too?

42 comments:

rajawat said...

i totally agree with maj navdeep .but i suggest some safeguards may be built in regarding sensitive issues .

Anonymous said...

Dear Navdeep

I am in full agreement to what you have written. I feel there are enough safeguards already existing and if someone has violated , the indiviual needs to be punished. I remember when i was in service the whole file was made secret just because on odd letter required it.You can well imagine if that file was taken away casually, Inanycase many times even that one letter did not warrant SECRET term and was soon downgraded.we need to take practical approach to the subject.

GURDEEP SINGH
GROUP CAPTAIN (Retd )

Synapse said...

Army is, rightly so, very sensitive to its image. It should be. But the recent approach of gagging and talking of disciplinary actions against individuals commenting on internet is definitely not the way. Army should take corrective actions. Senior officers should practice transpiracy, engage in online chats, blogs etc to discuss issues to either convince or get convinced. If army has to reform and evolve, the first thing that must change is the mindset.

Thomas Manimala said...

Use of Mobile phone while on duty is a security risk.

Anonymous said...

I kno an idiot who wud force his jawan to break his mobile phone if found with one in the RR .. God Bless such classified idiots...

Raj said...

When we first heard of the event a few months back, it was thought as an attempt by someone to scare off personnel who continued posting on social media sites carelessly. But now it seems to be taking different turn

ninihala said...

Firstly, even if an info is available on any open source, one is confirming it if mentions it on social media. Int gathering is like solving jig saw puzzle where pieces are available but have to be arranged. By denying such confirmation, we will make enemy's task more difficult.
Secondly, if someone has breached security instrs, punish him/her. Why deny it to everybody. That would amount to collective punishment, a very illegal thing.
Thirdly, constitution and ARs restrict only some of our rights. Criticizing govt is not in such list of restd issues. Even otherwise, one needs to take permission only for service related matters for publication. But there is an AO which mandates need of permission for all publication. That is ultra vires of extant law and needs to be challenged. AOs can only implement law, not create fresh jurisdiction.

Col NR Kurup said...

Even foujies seems not realizing the danger of allowing Armed Forces personnel use their mobile phones. Location of Unit and ships is Top Secret information. If you allow them use of mobile phone, the very purpose of using C/o 56 APO etc address become redundant. All that an enemy has to do is to get the Mob phone numbers of few personnel from each unit or ship. When they can collectively track the location of these personnel the deployment of entire Armed Forces could be located. This is very dangerous. So, if one like it or not Armed Forces personnel on C/O 56 APO or 99 APo etc should not be allowed to use Mobile phones under any circumstances.

naveen kumar said...

even in civil service conduct rules critisizing the govt or its policies is a punishible offence . if any body has doubt , they can read ccs conduct rules . they are in fact more dreaded even than army act . in cicil service rules , even evidence act is not applicable , means if a person is tried under army act , evidence act is applicable , i.e. the quality of the evidence should be of very high order in simple terms , but if a person is tried in civil service rules , evidence act is not applicable , means even if there is indirect evidence , a person can be punished . all armed force personnel should read ccs conduct rules . in many ways it is more dreaded than armt act .

sunlit said...

Social networking does pose administrative challenges for the armed forces. The solution lies in ensuring security of information on the lines that hi-tech armies of the world follow.

When one joins the armed forces, one willingly discards some of the liberties available to civilians. I can still recall how during ab-initio training as commissioned officers under probation, individuals had to dispense with the use of even transistor radios, cameras or scooters/motor cycles.

Things do change over time and if social media is now all pervasive, those responsible for ensuring compliance to security guidelines would have to upgrade their own skills, know how and infrastructure to keep pace with the changed scenario.

One can only see limited value in regression of the "ban and forbid" style.

SATTY'S CORNER said...

Another classic example of one upmanship by AFs in punishing their kin.As rightly brought out what has been compromised needs to be established.In an era of satelite imaginary nothing can be hidden.All fmn movs, ship movs even IAF aircraft can be detected so what are we talking about.The AF must come out with guidelines after discussion with the stake holders. Pre emptive action must be avoided like the Tehlka episode.What constitutes secret must be spelt out.Discussions on social netwkg sites only broadens one's perspective and brings out as to what is ailing the system. Senior cdrs must become tech savy and stand up to criticism.

Rajax said...

@ Col NR Kurup Jan 28 @ 0812 h
Sir, The problem exists with Senior Officers such as you who will believe in anything they hear without having the knowledge and / or technical expertise. Do you know that Mobiles require Mobile Towers- not available at Sea. Hence even Mai Ka Lal cannot triangulate / fix your position at sea. Mobile Nos of personnel cannot be collected so easily as Army personnel are generally closed groups. Even if all the nos of a paltan are available with someone which for example, goes to a frash location, the location cannot be found unless data is taken from the mobile company. Mobile Company data is possibly, not available to every Tom Dick or Harry. Your points killed. Sorry.

Rajax said...

@ Col NR Kurup Jan 28 @ 0812 h
Sir, The problem exists with Senior Officers such as you who will believe in anything they hear without having the knowledge and / or technical expertise. Do you know that Mobiles require Mobile Towers- not available at Sea. Hence even Mai Ka Lal cannot triangulate / fix your position at sea. Mobile Nos of personnel cannot be collected so easily as Army personnel are generally closed groups. Even if all the nos of a paltan are available with someone which for example, goes to a frash location, the location cannot be found unless data is taken from the mobile company. Mobile Company data is possibly, not available to every Tom Dick or Harry. Your points killed. Sorry.

Rajax said...

To put my money where my mouth is, I hereby request anyone who knows how to hack to hack my profile, mail, desktop, passwords, bank accounts, e-mail, mobiles, credit cards and post the info to me. I will give credit to those, who do not use info provided officially / like info with Maj Navdeep as the site admin etc... . Also, proof as to how info about me hacked by them has somehow had "security implications" will be given extra credit. For starters I have added a few things to my profile. HACK ON. PROVE IT. Follow on comments will be e-mailed to me.

Anonymous said...

As the revolution of IT cannot be bar for the forces its high time we frame rules and regulation acceptable both for the organisation and the indl but banning cannot be a solution for long term remedy, if AF is so concerned abv security then what abv the software we use for smart card where all the details of the whole AF are with the firm which i doubt is a govt undertaking...

Dhoop said...

@Rajax: "I hereby request anyone who knows how to hack to hack my profile"

The trouble is those who can hack into your profile or other confidential information online may not be among the readership of this blog and, also, may not consider it worth their while to be sending you the hacked details. I suspect they'd rather use it themselves to their own advantage.

If the contention is such a thing is impossible, I'm afraid, that's ignoring thousands of high profile instances of such things having come to pass. The smaller incidents are in the news everyday. So there's no point in being smug over the issue.

You are quite wrong about mobile towers being required to track a transmitter of any sort at sea. If you have a cellphone radiating at sea, its signal can be picked up and co-ordinates established by any unfriendly agency with the means. The unfriendly agency won't say, "Hey Rajax, thanks for sending us the information. Please put on uour life jacket as a little present for you and your shipmates is on the way".

At the same time, there is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water, which I assume your point is. There are effective means available to monitor, and control, misuse of modern personal communication aids, the knowledge of which needs to be gained by the organizations which may find the sensitivity of their operations and procedures threatened.

Rajax said...

@ Dhoop,
"hackers will use the info for their own advantage"- let's see. They haven't exactly got the info for the last 6-8 years that I have been online. I doubt they are as interested as civilian babus and conspiracy theorists who try to clip our wings.
"thousands of high profile instances of hacking and smaller incidents" - I am yet to see proof or actual news except claims. Anonymous brings down websites but I am yet to know of a non-idiot "person" being hacked if he takes common sense precautions. I am a willing victim. Let the powers to be who are trying to put the brakes prove it.

I may be mistaken but it is easier to triangulate the open frequencies on which the ships transmit. A normal handheld set ($ 180-200) on a Dhow is enough to pinpoint the frequency and thereafter triangulate. The "little presents being sent" are overrated since IN ships are not exactly sitting ducks. Never mind popular stories of Exocets and ARMs. BTW, Exocets and Anti Ship Missiles are not exactly picked up in the open market. Since you seem to be a Service Person, I pity those civilians who will apply their half baked knowledge to things military including what they think "Military Discipline" should be. [In fact, my Father, a Civilian, speaks more eloquently and has much stronger views than me about Mil discipline]. Instead of spamming Navdeep's Blog, may I request you to comment on my blog (created today to prove a point and will be operated for next 365 days)
http://hackmeifucann.blogspot.com/
Instead of arguing, let's take forward this experiment.
Regards,
I'm just another Fauji who no longer believes everything I'm told.

corona8 said...

@Rajax said,"I am yet to see proof or actual news except claims.": Sorry to butt in, but people don't really hack into blogs and email accounts at random without a clear cut aim.
I don't think the threat of hacking is something we can be complacent about. Just because we haven't noticed anything amiss doesn't mean others have not had a look see into our so called 'confidential' or 'private' details online.
Also, any radio signal can give away the position of the source. Under operational situations, its best there are no individual signal sources which are not under control of an authority figure in a formation or on board an aircraft or ship. That's a very basic requirement.
But, restricting peace time use of a networking website for purely private and personal matters, or maintaining a blog are different issues.
The authorities may need to devise ways and means to keep the official and personal interactions separate on peace locations.

tikamchand said...

rajx cool down . u may not be under surveillance . but greater discretion is necessary while online . i know one of my friend got cheated of rs 9 lakhs tfd out of his account to an account in remote villege . there are numereous incidence of breach of radio security in units . in my view careless and defiant attitude is not required . in my view there is no need of a gag order . but certainly greater training and awareness about internet security is required . yes there are living proof . recently web site of a defence organisation in india was hacked and posted with malacious trojans trojans . even i have experienced numereous phising attacks on website of many big banks to steal pass word and txn password . my fried was cheated for 9 lakhs . though the amount was recovered with the help of police but it was was possible only by online fraud . so there is nothing wrong to follow established procedures . i am sure we can all be online communicating and putting our point forward , and same time adrees security related concerns . care and an toward security is must . here we need to change old notions of security . if we installed a big board out side our unit prominently displaying name , then any passer by can tell this unit is here . similarly by satellites in the sky a lot of info about us about enemy is available to enemy . the need here is to be cautious .

cherian said...

rajax yes no body can force u to believe what is told , but as long as u are in fauz or in any service private or civil or fauz , u can be forced to obey what is told to u , even if u dont believe it . believe it or not this is the prevailing practice and u also follow this .

Anonymous said...

An excellent and very topical post Maj Navdeep. The Navy action was outright shocking, its a case of ignorant seniors feeding on their own people.

On one hand we have policy letters stating Army Officers should be educated about social networking, including practicals, and then we have this total disconnect. There is also a huge chatter about Net Centric Warfare & automation but then we also have some illiterate seniors of WW2 vintage who want to isolate the organisation into a well.

Almost the entire ORBAT including locations and names of Commanders is freely available on the Internet not just for India but most large nations.

It is the senior who ordered this action who needs to be court martialled for causing harm to the organisation instead of these convenient middle rung scapegoats. We didn't stop fighting in the night once NVDs were invented but some folks don't understand that the battlefield and the world is increasingly becoming transparent and information is there to be searched.

Thanks a lot for raising the issue.

Anonymous said...

@Col Kurup

You certainly are one of the very precise examples of the proverbial frog in the well.

Do you have any idea of how many civilian vendors visit every unit of the Indian Army? How many Supply Orders and RFPs are floated in a Corps Zone? How many Baniya shops, casual labours, porters exist even in units occupying Siachen?

I won't challenge your technical solitude by highlighting larger issues but suffice to say that this stupid concept of C/O 56 APO and Tac Numbers is obsolete and downright stupid. 99% of the Infantry and Armoured units you'll find a board containing their Tac number on the road and on their entrance gate - a huge display of their entire history.

So who are we trying to fool here?

Anonymous said...

@ Col Kurup

And you please search through your file for how many official letters are there which want the mobile number of the OIC of the event or QRT or Project. On one hand we want 24/7 availability of officers and then we want this primitve c/o 56 APO. Do you have any idea how many calls to officers right upto the Naval Chief may have been put through on his cellphone? And you think all of them were only for UNCLAS gossip?!!

Anonymous said...

Forces need to keep in tune with time.I agree with Navdeep in that ArmedForces need to strike a balance.Study how US Navy or Navies of western world are facing upto Social Media challenge. And many spouses of Army men are active and they may be unknowingly giving out info. So Armed Forces can set up a social networking and allow verified civilians to join that. Denying Social network would be a huge dampner for youth!

Rajax said...

Dear Maj Navdeep, I would like it if corona8, tikamchand, cherian etc can direct their opinions to my blog which I created yesterday (I have never blogged previously) so that I can counter their arguments there instead of spamming your Blog.
We in fauj learn 2 things - (a) Follow Orders (b) Do not apply your mind. Besides this some of us get better at unnecessary and specious argumentation and quoting rules. Pls direct them to :- http://hackmeifucann.blogspot.com/
They can also reach the blog by rightclicking my name.

Dhoop said...

@Anonymous January 29, 2012: You are citing existing potential sources through which security of information can be compromised. But, that does not mean we have to create an environment where such threats can multiply.
Indeed, the new communications paradigm poses challenges, and everyone needs to upgrade awareness levels all round to live and deal with this new reality.
There's no room for an ostrich like head in the sand orientation and to insist going back to ways of old is the only solution.
But to have another kind of head in the sand orientation with this attitude of "security be damned, my own convenience and networking aspirations come first" is hardly going to meet security requirements of the services.

Anonymous said...

remember when google showed all the sattelite images on the net for every mortal being... people in power threw tantrums in name of national security.

banning mobile phones seems like a good idea to a few of the bloggers but look a bit into the future. no mobile phones, your officers won't understand the functioning of a smart phone. so when they see someone using it they won't be able to differentiate wehether he is spying or reading ebook of his course.

the security conceps that the armed servcices follow needs a relook with changing times. in 1962, 1965, 1971, 1984, indian govt banned news paper reports. 20 yrs later chinese govt couldn't hide tiamin square, with latest being, wikileaks.

somebody in security dept needs to have a relook at concept of security.

Kaps said...

Internet as a system is here to stay, atleast it looks like that after PIPA/SOPA were withheld. Every system has its pros and cons and so is it with Internet. Just like we would not like our kids to be exposed to the dark side of internet, similarly the dark side needs to be explained to members of AF.

Not every one is tech savvy when it comes to Internet. One might be a great user of mobile services, but Internet is another being. Rather than banning or making things inaccessible, best is to educate people and of course make an example of people who err on the wrong side.

There is no doubt there is plethora of information available on Internet regarding everything about AF. But people do take information available on internet with a pinch of salt. Thus one doesn't have to be a willing partner in bed with someone looking out to "piece together the jigsaw".

Dhoop said...

@Anonymous January 29, 2012:"..banning mobile phones seems like a good idea to a few of the bloggers.."
That's not what anyone has been advocating here. There's certainly a need over such devices in secure areas, during sensitive situations or when ops are on.
What is all this talk of Tianneman square? That happened in the middle of Beijing. I am sure the Red Army does not permit it's personnel to be texting sms's to their families when they patrol their borders :-)

LT.COL.HS DHAM( MAHARS ) said...

It is very difficult and unreasonable to totaly ban the use of social media by the Defence Personnel. A defence average family consists of siblings not totaly dedicated or employed in Defence Services. The following safeguards are suggested please :-
(a) Donot use Rank just the name or nickname.(b) No information of Armyactivities,location,photograph postings, promotions,grievances only general information etc.(c) Avoid character assessinations, unparliamentary language or offensive photos or things like it.PLAIN AND SIMPLE PARTICIPATE AS A AN AVERAGE DECENT CIVILIAN AND ALSO EDUCATE YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS TO DO THE SAME Best of luck and CHEERS

A B Mehta said...

I am reproducing below a letter that I happened to read. Hope he can be guided.
"Sir
I am Ex-Sgt from Air Force and joined SBI in clerical cader. I am not given the benifit of pay protection which i read on your blog at http://www.indianmilitary.info/2010/04/changes-in-pay-fixation-rules-on-re.html

here SBI is taking only our Basic Pay and DA only and not considering Grade Pay, MSP etc for pay protection.

I have been trying hard to get any letter or Govt orders, but could not achieve it.

May i request you, to please forward me details on pay protection for Ex-seviceman with reference to letter no etc or any soft copy of Govt orders etc you have with you."

His email address is
dineshjakhmola@yahoo.com

Gp Capt A B Mehta

A Blog of Common Sense said...

Internet is a new medium to many in the Armed Forces. And as happens with a new toy, there will be instances of playing with it too much to ascertain the limits. It also caters to the "media starvation" that many of us older timers were deprived of - the thrill of seeing our names in the paper or electronic media.

Instead to bringing the sledgehammer down on junior officers and other cadre, it would and should be the duty of the Defence and Services PROs to advise them on the implications of not being prudent and why TMI (Too Much Information) is not a good idea.

But we must encourage healthy interaction and express and discuss views for improvement of the MoD and the respective Services.

Air Mshl (retd) S Y Savur

Rajax said...

@ Air Marshal Savur,

Sir. Going ahead with the times and ways youngsters (including Hackers like Anonymous) operate, we need to generate so much of data that it is impossible to separate the Wheat from the Chaff. Operate like the Chindits, Guerrillas or Marxists. Mingle with the Public and adopt the Internet. In fact Army personnel should inundate the Net with duff info so that the en cannot glean actionable intelligence.
Regards,

reason said...

rajx
i know u will not listen to any reasoned voice . this is youth . keep it up . are bhai jawani me khoon nahi garam hoga to kab hoga .

Rajax said...

@ Reason,
Janaab, Pachis saalon se aap logon ki baat sunte sunte pak gaya hoon. Fauj ka haal din-pe-din kharab hota gaya hai. Same simple commands - Do not apply your mind. Follow orders blindly. Do not fight the "system". Now every Tom Dick and Harry who has a Computer and reasonable hold in English tries to make a rule whether he has the maloom or not. Chamde ke sikke chal rahein hain. Now, who was the person who made this rule? (No Facebook allowed). I can get anyone's location to his nearest Civil Exchange* by hacking him or getting his IP address. So can anybody with simple tools. Why was this particular rule made then? Because somebody thought that the location of Army men could be found. Maybe the person who made the rule is in Army Intelligence and is quite unaware of the fact that as it is your location is known. I doubt it. Maybe the rule was made for no reason or because the person making the rule
a) Thought he has some superior knowledge.
b) Wants Fauj to earn MSP?
c) Realised that there is no way you can educate Fauj.
d) They realised that making an example out of 2 officers of Navy will fall flat on the face.
e) No such order has been passed and this info was posted on the web just to Gauge the reaction of the Army.

Remember, one inch given now will result in a foot being taken tomorrow. The Army will not be able to recover the Ground Lost for all eternity. Even if the Web becomes a safe vault, a right once relinquished will remain till eternity. Blind Faith & Reasonable response ka time nikal gaya dost. Ab bhi Jaag Jayo ya seekh lo.
Today it is Facebook, tommorow it will be e-mail. Day after it will be net banking ...

Sky said...

well said. Bravo!

faransqi said...

it seems that instead of becoming more advanced we are rocketing back to medieval times why doesn't fauj gives faujis CDMA mobiles (high encryption Tech) to be used for official purpose with CUG limitations no problem in hacking or closed ended OEM ie no one else could use this kind of software or programme unless cleared by an administrator or a multiple layeredadministrator then all faujis could yell out everything but in a closed cuircit

vivek said...

All those who are from old school of thought and feel that locations of our formation are highly confidential,are sadly mistaken 'cos this info is readily avail online. Pls check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Military_units_and_formations_of_the_Indian_Army

moreover if these locations were so confidential, we would not have seen various news reports of change of command with the name of general officer of such formations which clearly give out the name of formation with location. It has become our tendency now to glorify all large scale events in the media, and we even attempt to glorify small events by spending huge amount of money on media coverage. Where does the sense of the General Officers go, when the media persons come to know about the entire ORBAT of that particular formation??? We need to be deliberate in our thinking as to classify what info is classified and what is not...

EMGE said...

Hi Navdeep! Lets have an update from you on action taken by Navy if any. It will be interesting

Anonymous said...

yes, the threat of hacking and info leakage does exist. Officers and their family members have to be sensitized about the same, but steps like dont reveal you are a fauji, dont do thisetc etc are illogical.

But has the organisation done anything????? other than choking the throat..????
1. what has the organisation done to ensure that all officers / units get secure internet connections?

2. has the organisation entered into any agreement with mobile companies who will offer mobile connections in military stations with limited info, the details of which are available only within the organisation HQ?

3. Has the organisation done anything to evolve itself to the "net world", other than creation of pathetically and childishly designed webpages which still have poor quality gifs jumping around?

4. Has the organisation tried to ensure that websites have a coloumn of C/o 56 APO or 99 APO in their address info to help the 'Net savvy' faujis to buy stuff online?

5. has it tied up with atleast major net shopping websites, mobile companies, banks etc so that the send thier packages/mail with APO address through post and not through courier??

there are a million things an organisation with a positive outlook to technology can do, which we definitely are not. Some of the things that can be done:

1. Provide secure internet connections (by means of additional firewalls or whatever means) to the cantt areas through the local signal units or another entirely seperate organisation. tby this method the extent of hacking can be drastically reduced if such attcaks are blocked at the level of the service provider. Also the issue of poor internet connectivity in cantt ares can be resolved.

2. enter into agreement with mobile operators to provide mobile connections ( with random numbers)through an agency at formation/ station levels, who will act as middle men in providing connections to service personnel. the identity of the individuals can be with held at this level and can be shared with mobile company as on required basis. Billing maybe handled by this agency if security of identity is such a big issue ( which in my personal opinion is not).

2. Ensure(atlesat within India) that C/o *^ APO is mandatory in the address coloumns of web pages and application form for banks accounts/mobile connections, passports etc etc. Most of the offrs are in a fix as to what address to give on the net or in applications, as city, state etc are mandatory fields in almost every type of info. C/o *& APO address must be waived off these.
most of us end up getting phone bills, bank statements on address such as
" !@# regiment" ,C/0 *& APO,
abcdef city, xyz state,
Pin 9*&^&$ "
now this is what you call info security, but what can the poor guy do? the city and state is a mandatory field. Got the point? the organisation should do something to sort this out, instead of sending letters saying do not disclose location blah blah..

we are trying to ape the military techniques and doctrines of the western world but not the technology part of it.

example of WHAT TO DO with internet is :

http://www.ts2.pl/en/Internet-in-Iraq-and-Afghanistan

http://www.ts2.pl/en/Order-form-for-soldiers-in-Iraq

(*** look at the address details they ask for, just APO etc etc and not the conventional zip, city, state etc***)


and not :

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/indian-army-draws-loc-on-internet-use-for-officers/20120127.htm

so.... together we can go ahead with time, or go back to the stone age.. YOU DECIDE.

PS : sorry for being anonymous, you never know "they" might find something leaked even on this reply !!!

Anonymous said...

an additional info i just came accross. see the details of
how amazon.com handles online shopping for APO customers in the US

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=ox_shipaddress_apo_help?ie=UTF8&nodeId=773768&pop-up=1

PS Randhawa said...

Security cannot be ensured by methods of denial. It has be ensured through education and creating concern amongst personnel.
Senior Officers have fixed ideas. How many are on Social sites? Very few. They are also apprehensive of being butt of comments and criticism. However social media interaction is going to increase. However you may create barriers people will find way out. In fact army should use it as a tool of force multiplier. May be they have yet not given any thought to that.