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Facebook geotagging is dangerous for soldiers, United States Army says

The United States Army says that geotagging on social media sites such as Facebook and Foursquare puts soldiers' lives at risk.

Afghanistan us soldiers 2011 08 31Enlarge
U.S. soldiers gather near a destroyed vehicle, as their wounded comrades are airlifted by a Medevac helicopter from the 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder to Kandahar Hospital Role 3, on Aug. 23, 2011. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

Geotagging has created new problems for armed forces. The United States Army announced this week that geotagging on Facebook and other social media sites can put soldiers' lives at risk.

"Is a badge on Foursquare worth your life?," the US Army asked in a statement.

But some soldiers may be geotagging unintentionally. Many smart phones now automatically tag photographs with GPS co-ordinates, BBC News reported

“I’d say very few people know about geotag capabilities,” a technology expert told the New York Times in 2010.  

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The press release says that in 2007, four army helicopters were destroyed in Iraq after soldiers posted pictures of them online. "From the photos that were uploaded to the Internet, the enemy was able to determine the exact location of the helicopters inside the compound and conduct a mortar attack," the statement says. 

Complicating matters is that the new Facebook Timeline features a map of all geotags that users have added to their previous posts. 

"Timeline presents some unique security challenges for users who tag location to posts," US Army spokesman Steve Warren said in the press release.

The US Army's warnings follow similar advice given by the British Military last year, the Daily Telegraph reported

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120309/facebook-geotagging-dangerous-soldiers-united-states-army-says