Israeli army to block social networking sites

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

JERUSALEM - The Israeli army plans to block several leading social networking websites, including Facebook and Twitter, for security concerns, an official said Tuesday.

According to Xinhua, Gadi Abadi, head of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) intelligence corps information security department, said that computers in army bases and offices would be denied access to social networking sites, citing concern over the possible leakage of classified information onto the internet.

The officer said that while the IDF trusts the sound judgment of its serving members, human error can occur and have severe consequences.

The decision follows the growing concern of senior commanders in the IDF that Israel’s enemies are exploiting the internet to collect potentially sensitive military intelligence.

Former IDF troops and active personnel regularly upload photos of themselves and their units on Facebook and other sites, a trend that has grown increasingly popular in recent years.

Photos of IDF weaponry, military exercises and senior officials, for instance, have been located online on a Hamas forum. In 2008, an IDF battalion commander had to cancel a planned operation in the West Bank after a soldier posted critical details about it on his Facebook page, Ha’aretz newspaper reported.

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