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Four Things to Know about Operations Security and Your Privacy

Online searches. Public records. Social media. And more. Each presents a unique challenge to protect Operations Security and your privacy. It’s always a good time to ensure you’re practicing good habits to better protect both. Below are four things to know about OPSEC and your privacy.

1) You should be careful about sharing too much information: Share information about yourself smartly and be careful about what you disclose about your family and occupation. Sailors and their families should be particularly careful not to share:

  • Deployment status
  • Home address
  • Telephone numbers
  • Location information and associated location information in posts, tweets, check-ins, photos and videos
  • Schedules

Your close friends and family members have this information so there is no need to post it online. Other information that should not be shared:

  • Description of bases
  • Unit morale
  • Future operations or plans
  • Results of operations
  • Discussion of areas frequented by service members (even off-duty hangouts)
  • Daily military activities and operations
  • Technical information
  • Details of weapon systems
  • Equipment status

Use privacy settings to better protect your personal information.

2) Sailors and families should be careful about sharing too much information:

  • Dangerous
    • My Sailor is in XYZ unit at ABC camp in ABC city in Iraq.
    • My daughter is aboard XYZ ship heading back to ABC city/country in X days.
    • She will be back on X date from ABC city.
    • My family is back in Youngstown, Ohio.
  • Safer
    • My Sailor is deployed in Iraq.
    • She is coming back home.
    • I’m from the Midwest.

Best practice: Protect yourself and your family. Avoid providing details about yourself, especially related to a current deployment. Avoid providing details about family. To be safer, talk about events that have happened – not that will happen unless that information has been released to the media. Otherwise, don’t provide specific details.

3) Be careful who you friend or those who follow you on social media:

  • Not everyone who wants to be your friend or follower is necessarily who they claim to be.
  • Be mindful of others attempting to use your social presence.

Best practice: Only allow people you actually know in real life into your social circle.

4) OK to share:

  • Pride and support for service members, units and specialties
  • Generalizations about service or duty
  • Port call information after it has been released to the media
  • General status of the location of a ship at sea (i.e., operating off the coast of San Diego, as opposed to 45 nm north of San Diego)
  • Released posts from official U.S. Navy social media presences


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