After many opsec fails, Russia seeks to ban soldier social media spoilers

Article intro image

“Time to sleep”—inside Ukraine. A few new “fans” of Russian soldier Sanya Sotkin noticed his geolocation faux pas.

now being considered by Russia’s Duma would attempt to bring to an end a particular practice among members of Russia’s armed forces that has become something of a diplomatic and tactical thorn in the military’s side—the posting of photos and other information on social media that gives away the operations and positions of their units.

The draft bill states that “servicemen are prohibited to place in mass media, and the Internet information (including photos, video, geolocation data and other information) about yourself and other servicemen disclosing the department they belong to, information about their official activities or service activities of other military personnel, the activities of military units, organizations and units in which they perform military service, and their place of deployment, except for cases provided for by regulatory legal acts of the Russian Federation.”

In an explanatory note, the bill’s authors stated:

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pentagon tells troops: Turn off fitness tracker GPS when you head to warzones

Enlarge / A heatmap of Strava “workout” data revealed sensitive locations around the world, including some mysterious places in Syria. (credit: Strava)

Strava fitness tracking community was revealing the location of US military facilities in Syria and other conflict zones as well as some troop movements, the Department of Defense has instructed troops headed to potentially hostile territory to turn off the Global Positioning System features of their fitness tracking gadgets and mobile applications.

In a memo obtained by the Associated Press, the new instructions state that “These geolocation capabilities can expose personal information, locations, routines, and numbers of DOD personnel, and potentially create unintended security consequences and increased risk to the joint force and mission.” But Defense Department leadership stopped short of instructing troops to leave their wearable devices at home.

Instead, the memorandum instructs that the devices’ geospatial tracking capabilities must be turned off in sensitive or dangerous operating areas where the exposure of location data could cause a “significant risk” to members of the military. Operational commanders will be given leeway to decide whether GPS tracking needs to be turned off by their troops based on the threat level in their area of operations.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments