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PACAF commander advises discretion in cyberspace

  • Published
  • By Marine Sgt. Jeremy M. Vought
First proposed in 1929 by a Hungarian writer in a short story titled "Chains," the theory states that every person on earth is connected to every other person within six degrees. With the advent of the Web, those connections are much easier as humanity is connected by the keyboard and mouse and through social networking vehicles such as MySpace and You Tube.

General Paul V. Hester, the Pacific Air Forces commander, voiced his praises and concerns toward social networking on such Internet sites and stressed that what is posted could get distorted by someone else, or pieced together with other information that could jeopardize yourself, your family or your fellow servicemembers.

MySpace, You Tube, Live Journal and Face Book are some of those sites. For today's servicemembers the ability to keep in touch with friends and loved ones has never been easier, but with the growth of these networks comes the need to exercise caution with posting your information online.

"I think you need to be careful as to how you release that information and document that information and show yourself fully to the world," General Hester said.

With more than 130 million users on MySpace and 65 thousand videos uploaded daily on You Tube, Air Force leaders remind servicemembers they not only represent their service 24/7, but also what is posted can also have an effect on operational security.

"We of course realize there is no off-the-job time in its purest form for those of us in the military, but nonetheless, we have private time away from the office setting and the flightline. At those moments we are in fact the same person, we must adhere to the same standards, we must adhere to the same rules as when you are on duty or on the job," General Hester said.

General Hester added that while social networking over the Internet is a great resource to keep in contact with loved ones; troops must use good discretion and treat the Internet like the halls of a schoolhouse, where information no matter how seemingly harmless could be harmful to yourself and fellow servicemembers.

"We need to consider that strongly," General Hester said. "As you in fact release your private life to those who can do you harm and can in fact do your service harm if you release the wrong information on the World Wide Web."

When you can be connected in six degrees to anyone on the earth, even information you publicly give to those you trust can easily fall into the wrong hands.