HomeNewsArticle Display

Use common sense when posting to Internet, officials say

WASHINGTON -- Recent advances in technology have Air Force officials urging airmen to use common sense and remember operations security when posting on the Internet.

An item of special concern is the placement of photos of forward operating bases on personal Web sites. What has officials worried is the possibility of adversaries collecting those photos and using them to plan attacks against U.S. forces.

According to Lt. Col. Brieuc Bloxam, Air Force operations security program manager, airmen have posted photos on their Web sites of personal living areas, common-use areas such as dining facilities and basketball courts, operations buildings, perimeter fences and guard shacks.

"It makes people very nervous when they come across those (on the Internet)," Bloxam said.

Maintaining operations security, Bloxam said, is one of the keys to effective force protection.

"Ultimately what's important is that OPSEC can and does save lives and increases our mission success rate," he said.

While there are no specific regulations or laws that prevent someone from posting unclassified information on a personal Web site, Bloxam said people should keep in mind the Internet's reach.

"At present, there is nothing that says I can't take personal photos with my personal camera and post them," Bloxam said. "But when you post something on the Web, you're posting to the world, and you don't control who has access to the information you're posting. You're open to threat, and you may put others at risk in the same way."

In a recent case, Bloxam said, personal photos taken by an airman and placed on a personal Web site were downloaded and placed on an anti-American site. What began as "I was here" photos for friends and family became propaganda material used by an adversary.

Air Force legal officials say a commander's right to protect his forces may supersede a person's right to post.

"I would be surprised if anybody would argue that they'd have some sort of First Amendment right to publish photos ... especially when we're in a heightened state of security," said Lt. Col. Timothy W. Murphy, chief of the command doctrine and employee law branch in the office of the Air Force Judge Advocate General.

"National security and the security of personnel are compelling reasons ... to prevent this type of speech," he said.

Murphy said if a commander determines there are legitimate security concerns, he can prohibit personnel from posting to the Internet from his location, even if that means curtailing "morale call" types of e-mail access.

"When you put security concerns together with the fact that you're using government Internet access time, it's reasonable for the U.S. military to say 'No pictures,'" he said.

While commanders may have the ultimate responsibility, Bloxam said, maintaining operations security and force protection is everyone's business.

"Security, ultimately, is everyone's responsibility," he said. "It's everyone's duty to protect themselves and the U.S. armed forces, even if that means you don't send out a photo over the Internet. That 'innocent' picture of you standing outside your dorm may provide an adversary all kinds of information."


Facebook Twitter
The 413th Flight Test Sq. @TeamEglin successfully conducted the 1st #USAF piloted flight of the #HH60W Combat Rescu… https://t.co/wTyTtcmZjv
Jetting into the weekend like... #F16 https://t.co/wEWD7vr476
.@AstroHague showing his #USAF pride during the anniversary week of the #Apollo50 landing. @ISS_Researchhttps://t.co/WdgCFDmz6f
'Only two of us were not shot or dying': #USAF #Airman receives Silver Star for heroism in Afghanistan heroism… https://t.co/IdmKq8gtDx
RT @AFResearchLab: Dr. Lisa Rueschhoff was one of 82 engineers chosen to attend @theNAEng 2019 U.S. Frontiers of Engineering Symposium! Sh…
RT @ActingSecAF: .@GenDaveGoldfein is bolstering partners & #allies across Europe, discussing how we can be #StrongerTogether in air, #spac
Annual recovery efforts have helped to identify 40 of the 52 service members lost when a C-124 crashed into Mount G… https://t.co/fdHUY2IATf
8 of the surviving #Apollo #Astronauts got together for the 50th anniversary of the #moonlanding. @NASAhttps://t.co/szPJHXupa1
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Gen. Goldfein, during his keynote address at the 2019 Chief of the Air Staff's Air and Space Power Conference said the follo…
.@WrightPattAFB opened a #cyberdefense facility for #USAF Life Cycle Management Center's Fighters & Bombers Directo… https://t.co/QibdORLX2q
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Our asymmetric advantage is represented in this room. It is all of us working together on a common cause. Great to see…
.@AFResearchLab supports @AFThunderbirds w/cutting-edge aerospace #technology. From G-suits, custom earpieces, fly-… https://t.co/HJ07fLg2aP
Operating from rough dirt strips, the #C130 Hercules is capable of transporting & airdropping troops & equipment in… https://t.co/c4vsC76vRX
Tune into @TheWilsonCenter July 18, 2019 at 8:05 a.m. (EDT) to hear #USAirForce Lt. Gen. Bussiere, @USNorthernCmd A… https://t.co/M2LTH8wpx5
.@DMAFB #Airmen traveled more than 1700 miles to save two critically injured Mexican fishermen onboard the Mazatun… https://t.co/tcTnNPC8Zj
RT @KadenaAirBase: #ICYMI: #TeamKadena will be activating a new special operations squadron for the operation and maintenance of the #CV22
#OTDIH, The B-2 Spirit's inaugural test flight happened from Palmdale to @EdwardsAFB, #California. The B-2 Spirit i… https://t.co/bS7ODGlxsP
.@HAFB #Airmen conduct #F35 missions while temporary assigned to @366FW. This is the largest off-station F-35A Li… https://t.co/KlbXq7jBLg
RT @MacDill_AFB: CSM John W. Troxell has our #TotalForce team here at MacDill feeling empowered! 😎💪 Thanks for visiting our service members…