The Army wants soldiers to be careful with Facebook Places, Flickr and other social networking sites because geo-tagging features could give away the location of U.S. forces, as Army Times recently reported.
“What we’re looking at is a social media environment that has grown incredibly quickly, incredibly rapidly, with new applications … based purely on your geographical location; it’s dangerous,” said Staff Sgt. Dale Sweetnam, the NCO-IC of Army social media. “Physical location of units in combat is not something you want to broadcast to the entire world. There are enemies that are tracking this.”
But less dangerous and more creepy: In more than 100 iPhone and Android apps, dozens of popular apps are quietly transmitting personal information from phones to advertising firms and other companies, including “phone numbers, current location, often the owner’s real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off,” a Wall Street Journal investigation found.
WSJ details the growing business for aggregating data into profiles of cell phone users, targeting them for ads based on their location, and dividing them into market segments like “soccer moms” and “die hard gamers,” which are “15-to-25-year-old males with more than 20 apps on their phones who use an app for more than 20 minutes at a time,” according to the piece.
[UPDATE: Maj. Juanita Chang, the director of the Army public affairs social media was kind enough to send a link to her shop’s presentation on geo-tagging. She’s also providing her email, if y’all have questions: ocpa_dot_osmd_at_us_dot_army_dot_mil.]