Friday, January 18, 2008

Faceless on Facebook

'Ten new friends have just linked to your profile'. We all get these cheerful notifications from our favorite social networking software. But just who are your friends? And why are they interested in you? The Daily Telegraph reports, "British troops have been warned not to post personal details on internet websites amid fears that they will be targeted by British-based al-Qaeda terrorists. The warning, which states that al-Qaeda cells are increasingly using the Internet to track down potential targets, appeared in a "restricted" military security document distributed to Army units across Britain. The document reveals that troops using the Facebook, MySpace and Friends Reunited sites may potentially be most at risk. It is understood to be the first time that either the security service, MI5, or the military has warned troops of the dangers of posting personal information and pictures on websites."

The tactic of attacking British military personnel while off duty was used to great effect by the IRA. And there's every reason to think that Islamic radicals in the UK could copy the same tactic. At least that's what British authorities fear. "Scores of soldiers flying home from Afghanistan on Christmas leave were ordered to change out of their uniforms on a freezing runway before being allowed into a civilian airport terminal. Troops were told not to be seen in public in their uniforms ... One soldier, who was ordered to undress for “security reasons”, said: “It is an insult to the entire Army to force guys who’ve been fighting in Afghanistan to obey some jobsworth rule when all they want to do is get home to their families.

But the reality is that the Internet plus the radical Islamic diaspora now means that there is no neat distinction between the battlefield and "home". Fighting al-Qaeda has become like staying at the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave -- the conflict -- that is. The Telegraph article continues:

Access to Facebook is restricted to members, but the only thing that is required to register is an email. With several false accounts, it is possible to access the personal pages of many Services personnel listed on regimental forums on the site.

The Sunday Telegraph found at least 888 names on the Royal Marines network on Facebook, and 72 members on the network for The Royal Anglian Regiment. Many of the soldiers listed on the site revealed their full names, dates of birth, home towns, names of family members, girlfriends or wives, the locations where they had served and pictures posing with colleagues and weapons.

The threat facing troops in Britain became apparent earlier this year when the security services uncovered an alleged plot to kidnap a British Muslim soldier recently returned from service abroad and to behead him on the internet.

Whether a person knows it or not and increasingly, whether a person likes it or not, he acquires an online reputation. British soldiers are learning that being known as a Soldier of the Queen online means Kipling's warning to those bound for Afghanistan may apply in Britain.

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.

Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier _of_ the Queen!


Blogger Elijah said...

The internet, Facebook, and identities?

How about strategic infrastructure, communication, and industrial targets?
12/10/2007 09:51:00 AM

Electrical utilities in multiple overseas cities affected

1/18/2008 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Tittle Tattle Lost the Battle

Loose Lips Sink Ships

Keep It Under Your Hat!

Keep mum she's not so dumb!

a careless word ... another cross

All of these were slogans used during World War II to discourage careless talk. Even then, there were spies who reported information to the other side. And yes, World War II was just as much of an information war as the present war we fight.

Any idiot should have figured out that personal information about members of any military would be useful for a terrorist organization. Are we also supposed to tell soldiers not to play around with captured IEDs?

One of the reasons why I no longer use my own name on the internet is precisely because I don't want some nutcase tracking me down and causing problems. Even with a letter to the editor or legislative testimony on a local issue, the nastiness can get vicious and personal.

1/18/2008 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

When I was growing up the intellectual mountain peak was to write a popular novel and then you would be declared "immortal" by the secular gods because your book would be included in various long lived libraries.

Now you can't shut the dammed thing off. If you make some offhanded remark on a site like this my understanding is that someone somewhere archives it and it can be brought up at your trial. It will be the uncontested proof of your guilt because you said it! The thought police are even now laughing and rolling on the floor at all the self-incrimination pouring into their databases held for that very day.

Oh well!

What have I got to lose by now.

I'm voting for Fred Thompson for President of the United States here in 2008. There, I said it. Prepare the dungeons. I'm guilty of being sensible. One and one is two. May as well go all the way. Global Warming is a fraud. There is no gay pride. Abortion is murder. Wretchard is a graduate of Harvard! Yes, I know.


1/18/2008 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger subpatre said...

Well, the services have always been saying that stuff about information security . . . . and the servicemen have grudgingly gone along.

What’s different today is that the services have never worried about WHO their members were, but rather WHAT the members said about locations, tactics and operations.

Instead —from what you describe— the services are asking members to act furtive and guilty about themselves; as if they were terrorists or banditos and should hide from the law.

It may be true that “there is no neat distinction between the battlefield and "home". Fighting al-Qaeda has become like staying at the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave -- the conflict -- that is.
It isn’t the first time; probably won’t be the last. Lt Prag Tewarri knows how to fix that crap.

1/18/2008 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

Finally Terrorists are enter into social networking site too."Where ever people goes, Terrorists follows". al-Qaeda keep on searching way to widen and deepen their network which is very dangerous sign for all part of the world...
Car Breakdown Cover

1/18/2008 10:39:00 PM  
Blogger Grimmy said...

The issue is that jihadi and their supporters are known to be gleening personal information on currently serving soldiers.

There have already been incidents of family members being targeted for harassment in the US.

The fear is that there are plans in the making to begin attacking, with intent to kill, friends and family of soldiers.

Folk can laugh it off as paranoid over reaction, and many will. But when it does start to happen, as it most assuredly will, the same folk will be screaming for someone's head on the chopping block for failing to "connect the dots" earlier.

1/19/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Mr X said...

Talk about "to cut up what remains":

"Nasrallah says Hezbollah has Israeli soldiers' body parts"


1/19/2008 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

AlQ is used to attacking and murdering "friends and family" all over the world. It's call suicide belt in a kindergarten or an open market.

AlQ is used to murdering women and children all over the world. They will behead Christian school girls walking to school because it's much easier to kill a school girl than it is to kill a soldier, especially an American soldier.

I have no doubt it would be equally easy to harrass and try to harm "friends and family" in Europe or Great Britain.

But in the United States which group is the MOST likely to have firearms in the home, and be fully trained in how to use them to defend themselves? I put it that "friends and family" of the American military will be a very nasty surprise for brown men with ill-kempt beards if they make the mistake of showing up in the middle of the night.

Except for Cindy Sheehan, of course, who would never carry a gun, but then we really don't care if she becomes beheaded or not.

1/19/2008 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger waffle/gaufre said...

Not just military personnel are at risk by putting info on facebook.

Organized crime and terrorists are now using kgb/cold war methods to recuit insiders in government agencies that they wish to penetrate.

Want to recruit an insider in Border & Immigration Agency or the Social Security Administration?... Facebook is like a giant shopping list with enough personal details to customize the recruitment.

1/19/2008 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

I pray that the Brits come to their senses and arms anyone in danger. Perhaps a really in your face facebook would be good bait for Joe Jihadi

1/20/2008 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger DoubleTapper said...

Yup, and Israeli servicemen are being targeted at home when off duty by Arab terrorists.

It's getting scary out there.

It's always good to keep your Glock and 150lbs English Mastiff at hand.

1/21/2008 01:01:00 AM  

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