WASHINGTON: The US Marine Corps on Tuesday renewed a ban on Twitter and other social networking sites as the Pentagon weighed a similar prohibition over cybersecurity concerns.
The Marines had already banned the use of social media on military networks but issued a more detailed order this week defining which sites were out of bounds and noting possible exceptions to the rule, Marine Corps spokesman Lieutenant Craig Thomas told AFP.
“These Internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries,” the Marine Corps said in an order posted on its website.
“The very nature of SNS (social networking sites) creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts opsec (operational security), comsec (communications security)… at an elevated risk of compromise,” the order said.
Those marines whose assignments may require access to social media could apply for a waiver, it said.
Marines working in criminal investigations, press relations and recruiting have a need to use social media to carry out their duties and would likely be granted access, Thomas said.
But he said “social networking sites have always been banned in the Marine Corps.”
The Defense Department meanwhile confirmed it was carrying out a formal review of its policies on the use of social networking sites.
In a July 31 memo, the deputy secretary of defense, William Lynn, said he had asked the Pentagon’s chief information officer to draw up policy options examining the threats and benefits of so-called Web 2.0 capabilities.
The memo acknowledges how social networking sites have proved valuable for recruitment, press relations and sharing information with allies and among military families.
“However, as with any Internet-based capabilities, there are implementation challenges and operational risks that must be understood and mitigated,” the memo said.
The policy review comes as other branches of the armed services have embraced social media with enthusiasm, seeing the sites as a means of reaching a wider audience and spreading information within the military.
The US Army has set up a new office for online social media but the military has struggled to balance security concerns with demands to modernize its communications.
Security rules have been blamed for stifling blogging by soldiers from the battlefront, even as some senior commanders write blogs or maintain a Facebook page.