by Kim Niemi
Alexander Sotkin seems to be an average 24-year-old. Like most people his age, he’s not above posting the occasional selfie. But his latest selfies have been a bit atypical. Because he’s allegedly posted them from within Russian military vehicles, while inside Ukraine territory.
And this socially unaware act could be exploited for nefarious purposes.
When uploading the pics to his Instagram account, Sotkin’s iPad automatically geotagged each image with his GPS coordinates. It’s possible Sotkin didn’t realize his location would be shared, but either way, talk about a case of social sabotage.
If he didn’t know, it doesn’t change the fact that the GPS tags prove that he was in a place that he shouldn’t have been, at least as far as the Ukraine is concerned. If he did know… well, he could find himself in all kinds of trouble.
Some journalists have questioned the legitimacy of the images, while others have likened them to war “art” versus hard intel or evidence of wrongdoing. But it does seem a bit telling that Russian lawmakers immediately demanded a ban on social media for soldiers on active duty. It all seems a little close to the mark.