Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Military Intelligence Twitter Kerfluffle

OK, full disclosure. I used to be an instructor at the MI Schoolhouse, of which the 304th MI BN is a part. I've seen a lot of articles like this over the years. They're normally done by junior officers, usually students, and are more of a "what if" scenario than anything else.

This article follows that pattern. My guess is that some young lieutenant or captain wrote this as part of a class, and it got published in the battalion newsletter. It doesn't mean that the MI as a whole believes that Al Qaeda is using Twitter and camera phones to carry out attacks. It means that some bright young officer was able to do some research and figure out how these tools could be used.

The author raises some good points, specifically that tools that we use in our daily lives can be used by bad guys to do bad things. Camera phones,GPS, microblogging tools, and Internet chat can all be used to find targets, recon them, and then control an attack. Heck, I've used the camera and GPS in my iPhone to scout my deer hunting areas, and I've chatted from the field with my buddies when I have a 3G signal.

As the author notes, Twitter has already been used by protesters at the RNC in Minneapolis to spread information. The article also makes a good point that microblogging by military personnel can be detrimental to OPSEC.

Hopefully, this article will be used to raise awareness and not create hysteria or over-reaction, either in the public, political, or military spheres.

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