Military men have a social media problem

Military men have a social media problemMilitary men have a social media problemRajasthan police have arrested an Indian army jawan after he was “honey-trapped” by a Pakistan operative.TNN | Jan 14, 2019, 08:23AM IST

  • Honey, army is online: Rajasthan police have arrested an Indian army jawan after he was “honey-trapped” by a Pakistan operative. The jawan, posted in the Armoured Corps, is thought to have exchanged information regarding his unit and its movement to a certain Anika Chopra on Facebook — profile authorities say was operated by an ISI spy. Local reports say around 50 jawans in Rajasthan are under the scanner of intelligence agencies for being honey-trapped by the ISI agent.
  • Not a first: Recently, a Group Captain of the Indian Air Force was apprehended by the counterintelligence units of the army, Air Force and the Intelligence Bureau for sharing information about transport aircraft operations.
  • But General… Only in last September did army chief General Bipin Rawat say that the army should not shy away from social media, instead must use it to “our advantage”. It was an idea that has its pitfalls: Modern smartphones are effectively a location-tracking device, and military men (and women) are not provided with a high-security phone instead use the regular smartphone bought from the market; and there is a flurry of Chinese social media apps and browsers (with questionable privacy policy) that are popular in India, not to mention that the devices itself are made in China.
  • Second thoughts? But in a country that has not matured through the transition from a landline to the pager to cell phone to a smartphone, the dos and don’ts of a smartphone usage can be tricky — and in case of the army, that could be dangerous. In fact, a quick search on TikTok, a Chinese app popular in India, hashtags #armyforever, #foji, #fauji and #faujilife threw up men in fatigue clearing snow, posing alongside a Gypsy, alongside a chopper, climbing a rope in what looks like a military facility and so on. Not all of these may be authentic soldiers (remember Shifuji?) but some could be — and mind you, this was just a quick search.