Commentary by Staff Sgt. Todd Barker
332nd Expeditionary Communications Squadron
4/13/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA -- It's only a Facebook status update -- I'm not saying where I am so what could be so wrong?
What you may not know is you could be geo-tagging and inadvertently sharing sensitive information without ever knowing it.
What is geo-tagging? It is a preloaded GPS service on smart phones and tablets that attaches coordinate locations to pictures and status updates. Social media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Foursquare post your updates and photos with the GPS locations attached to them.
Why is this a concern in a deployed environment? Information you innocently post with your social media updates or photos can give operational security information such as base locations or trip routes. Personal information like home address or family member addresses can even become available for anyone to see.
Can I disable the geo-tagging service on my personal electronic device? Yes. The default GPS setting in any of the operating systems to include the iPhone and Android systems can easily be disabled in the settings menu. If you have any questions, contact your communications squadron or information assurance officer.
Remember that OPSEC needs to be on everyone's agenda. There are many threats out there that would love to expose our secrets and use them against us. Social media avenues are prime resources our enemies use to gain access about our mission and our people.