Army Imposes Social Media Restrictions Amid Concerns Of ‘Honey Trapping’
The Indian Army has issued new guidelines to limit the usage of social media platforms. This comes after the reports of Pakistani intelligence using these platforms to profile Army officers and their families.
The two-page directive issued to the 1.3 million officers of the Army advises them not to join any WhatsApp Groups or use social media platforms, warning about the dangers of “honey-trapping” or leaking out of sensitive information.
Sensitive Data At Stake
According to the Indian Army, the directive aims to generate awareness about sensitive data being monitored or tapped by intruders.
As per the directive, Defence personnel have also been asked not to post pictures on their social media handles or disclose their affiliation to armed forces.
As per the instructions of Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), a warning has been issued that enemy agencies have access to advanced monitoring, decryption and data analysis capabilities.
Many senior officers are of the view that harmful elements are always on a lookout for confidential data and information through social media platforms. Many intruders often hide their identity to access data.
Attempt To Avoid Criticism?
For some, the decision to restrict Army personnel from using social media is to avoid criticism or to raise concerns among those who are serving.
Many are criticising the move by the government to thwart voices that raise questions on faulty policies and ill-treatment in the forces.
Security-The Only Priority
The army defended the move, citing security of data and personnel as their only objective.
Such a decision has been issued multiple times since 2014 when defence personnel revealed their profession or uploaded photographs in uniform on several platforms.
In January, the Army also carried out random checks on devices of officers and soldiers in sensitive areas. Simultaneously, a detailed list of “Donts” was issued advising its personnel about the possible consequences of the breach of data.
Even as per the existing social media policy, the Army personnel are advised not to reveal pictures of equipment, maps, and other material related to the forces online.
Instances In Past
In June, the Army identified an Instagram handle – suspected to be of a Pakistani spy trying to target Defence personnel. An advisory was immediately issued to be cautious and avoid any unknown social media contacts.
In the past as well, many personnel have been court-martialled for posting classified information on social media when the Chinese and Pakistani Agents were desperate to hack into Indian Systems.