Defence Minister AK Antony said on Wednesday, “directives have been issued to take stern action” against Army officers who share information that compromises military security on social networking sites like Orkut.
Antony told the Rajya Sabha in a written statement that defence personnel are “periodically sensitised to the nuances of military security and the implications of sharing of classified information with strangers or on a social network.”
HT had carried a report “Armymen on Orkut trigger security risk” on July 1, 2007, detailing how young army officers were “sharing information about their military training, postings, cell phone numbers and even operational details through Orkut.”
The report highlighted how more than 200 networks on Orkut were dedicated to the army alone. BJP MP Ramdas Aggarwal and SP MPs Amar Singh and Abu Asim Azmi raised the matter in the Rajya Sabha in a reference to the HT report.
The minister also admitted that “foreign intelligence agencies scout for vital information information on the Internet.” He said to tackle the problem, the army is carrying out sensitisation programmes for personnel – particularly, new entrants in training institutes. Antony added that the ministry has been issuing regular policy guidelines for compliance and “checks and audits are being carried out by in house teams for detecting breaches.”
When HT reported the matter in July, the Army’s PRO at South Block had not responded to questions posed by this correspondent. However, another officer had said that counter intelligence apparatus within the army was working on identifying such officers.