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.
The ban was proposed after yet another soldier bragged that his unit “pounded the Ukraine all night.” He later claimed his account had been hacked – and really, isn’t it almost adorable that people still think that excuse will fly?
But what if accounts were hacked – by the military, to use to their advantage? Obviously, in a case like Sotkin’s, social media is a detriment to any military group – revealing locations that are meant to be kept secret.
But what if the technology could be perverted? Could the military scramble geotags so that social media posts would show soldiers as being in one place, when they were actually in another? It’s a scary thought. For the moment, I think I’m glad that they can’t.
What do you think? Is there a place for social media on the battlefield?