New Delhi: In an attempt to prevent online espionage, Indian Navy has banned its personnel from using Facebook and prohibited use of smart mobile phones in bases, dockyards and warships.
This directive comes as Andhra Pradesh police claimed to have busted an espionage racket with links to Pakistan when earlier this month and arrested seven personnel of the Indian Navy for allegedly passing sensitive information like locations of naval ships and submarines to a Pakistani handler. All the seven sailors had allegedly fallen into a honey-trap.
“Recent case of inimical elements targeting naval personnel over social media to elicit sensitive/operational information is a matter of serious concern necessitating stringent correctives,” said an order issued by the Navy headquarters last week. The order banned use of Facebook for all personnel.
“Additional safeguards, including bans on messaging apps, networking, blogging, content-sharing, hosting and e-commerce sites, are under promulgation,” it added.
In October, Indian Army had also warned its men against honey-trap by Pakistan spies who create fake female profiles on the social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Army had also asked its personnel not to post pictures in uniform on social media, avoid accepting friend requests from unknown people, avoid suspicious websites and not to take calls from or chat with unidentified people. It has advised its men to change the privacy settings on Facebook and other apps to “only friends” so that unknown people are not able to check their profile and pictures.
In November, Rajasthan Police had arrested two Indian Army personnel, Lance Naik Ravi Verma and Sepoy Vichitra Behera, for sending sensitive information to Pakistan. Both of them were honey-trapped by Pakistani spies posing as woman on Facebook with the name “Seerat”.