How integrated has Facebook become in our culture? The popular social networking site is now seen as a threat to Israel’s national security.
According to the Associated Press, “Israeli defense officials say soldiers have inadvertently revealed sensitive information on Facebook…The rules allow soldiers to create pages on networking sites as long as they do not identify themselves as soldiers or reveal information about what they do.” The sensitive information that soldiers have revealed reportedly includes pictures that identify themselves as part of the Israeli army, along with images of equipment that is classified.
Although there was a recent Facebook security lapse that allowed the Associated Press to access photo albums of any user, Facebook has prided itself on providing a plethora of privacy options. However, the security issues that the Israeli army is looking at go way beyond social networking sites, and need to address mobile devices as well.
I was recently in Israel and was lucky enough to spend some time with Israeli soldiers. During this time I learned a few things:
- For Israelis, being in the army is the equivalent of an American student attending college – it’s a rite of passage.
- There are pictures of them in uniform everywhere.
- Pictures go beyond Facebook – cell phones are loaded with images too.
My point is that I support the crackdown on sensitive and classified information that’s being accessed through the internet. However, it’s going to extraordinarily difficult to expect these young soldiers not to identity themselves as such when it’s an ingrained part of their culture.
Back in March, Facebook faced conflict in Israel when users were assigned to the Palestinian network automatically, instead of being allowed to choose the Israeli network.
More then anything, this shows how the world is just beginning to adapt to social networks, and just how far Facebook has come from being a network for college students.