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Archive for the ‘military’ tag

Website to help military families launched

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Jill from OneMoreMoveOne woman’s need for a leg wax may seem an unlikely reason to start a military website but that’s how Jill Woods set off on a journey which has taken several years and just resulted in the launch of www.onemoremove.co.uk.

Over coffee near her Greater Manchester home, the former podiatrist explained what had motivated her to start building what she hopes will be an essential service for forces families.

Having to move regularly to new areas (six times in as many years) for her husband’s postings with the Royal Engineers, Jill realised that finding out about local services could be a daunting task.

“The traditional way of military life was that wives didn’t work and information was passed on through coffee mornings. There are still things to go to but really the ‘wives’ club’ thing is getting diluted now, times are changing.

“Being invited to a fancy dress party really was the trigger because I was working full-time and just didn’t know where to find a leg wax” she laughed, “but the more I thought about it I also needed to find a vet and a garage and so on”.

And so the seeds of an idea were sown – a website made up of recommendations from people living in military communities, sharing their experiences and the information they’d previously passed on by word of mouth.

Having no experience in web design or technology, Jill first of all carried out some research on the ground, driving to four different military bases and posting questionnaires through letterboxes.

The responses and feedback spurred her on – just one negative response from 200 surveys – a web company was employed and work started.

That was more than two years ago and now the site has just gone live with 14 locations where recommendations have started to be posted.

“It’s strictly user recommendations and not just for businesses. There could be dogwalking routes, children’s activity classes – things you wouldn’t find in a directory” says Jill.

The site is free to the user and so will be funded by revenues from advertising, enhanced listings and some online shopping items.

OneMoreMove has also pledged a  commitment to charity donation with 10% of any profits going to military associated charities nominated via the site each year.

Jill is now hoping to build awareness of the site and attract more users to register and start using the service.

“My aim is for it to be the number one relocation service for the military community.”

In addition to the website OneMoreMove is also on Twitter @onemoremove.

Written by sarahhartley

July 19th, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Post Mumbai look at Twitter terror

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Blogger Nitesh Dhanjani has returned to the US military warning about the potential for Twitter and other micro-blogging platforms to be employed by terrorists but updated the argument with some scenarios prompted by the Mumbai coverage.

Being careful to make it clear that he isn’t claiming an “evilness” for the micro-blogging platform, he says; “The goal of this article is to spread awareness and raise consciousness. The ideas presented in this article may appear far fetched at the moment, but with the explosive growth and integration of social applications into the lives of the Generation Y culture, it is increasingly probable that malicious parties are likely to leverage social media channels as time progresses. I feel it is important that we have a good grasp of how criminals may utilize these channels so we better understand the tactics of enemies we are likely to deal with in the future.”

The long post looks, among other things, at a scenario of blood donation pleas being sabotaged by people with an intention to undermine genuine rescue attempts in such events.

He also suggests that on the scene “citizen journalists” could become unwitting suppliers of useful data to terrorists needing to establish potential resistance by being remotely manipulated to provide specific information that a criminal may be seeking.

All of his observations are undoubtedly a potential outcome of malicious use of the tools available and the post is a thought-provoking one.

What actions an individual (or a government for that matter) might realistically want to take in response to this potential threat remains less clear.

Written by sarahhartley

December 18th, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Further Twitter terror threat blogged

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Following the weekend’s report from Wired magazine which revealed how military intelligence had identified three possible scenarios for terrorists employing the micro-blogging platform Twitter, the CounterTerrorism blog has come up with a fourth threat.

Noting that the LA Fire Department is making good use of Twitter as a real-time incident information platform, Roderick Jones refers to an Islamist forum when he posts:  ”Perhaps the terrorist use of Twitter will be the revival of alhesbah as a micro-blog sending ideological updates to followers as well as including LAFD style incident updates – I would add this as, potential use scenario 4.”

The full initial report from the US Army’s 304th Military intelligence battalion is here.

Written by sarahhartley

October 28th, 2008 at 11:02 am

Twitter back under military microscope

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Wired magazine reports that US army inteligence has been studying how the micro-blogging tool Twitter could be used for possible militant purposes.

Quoting a recent presentation (put together on the Army’s 304th Military Intelligence Battalion and found on the Federation of the American Scientists website) it says a recent report focuses on some of the newer applications for mobile phones: digital maps, GPS locators, photo swappers, and Twitter mash-ups of it all.

Noah Shachtman’s article says the presentation lays out three possible scenarios in which Twitter could become a militant’s friend:

Scenario 1: Terrorist operative “A” uses Twitter with… a cell phone camera/video function to send back messages, and to receive messages, from the rest of his [group]… Other members of his [group] receive near real time updates (similar to the movement updates that were sent by activists at the RNC) on how, where, and the number of troops that are moving in order to conduct an ambush.

Scenario 2: Terrorist operative “A” has a mobile phone for Tweet messaging and for taking images. Operative “A” also has a separate mobile phone that is actually an explosive device and/or a suicide vest for remote detonation. Terrorist operative “B” has the detonator and a mobile to view “A’s” Tweets and images. This may allow ”B” to select the precise moment of remote detonation based on near real time movement and imagery that is being sent by “A.”

Scenario 3: Cyber Terrorist operative “A” finds U.S. [soldier] Smith’s Twitter account. Operative “A” joins Smith’s Tweets and begins to elicit information from Smith. This information is then used for… identity theft, hacking, and/or physical [attacks]. This scenario… has already been discussed for other social networking sites, such as My Space and/or Facebook.

Interesting to see that the expert analyst quoted goes on to dismiss these “Twitter threats” as something to keep a sense of propertion about.

But this report (even with the ”what are you doing? death to America” graphic) adds further weight to the growing reports on how the military is harnessing social media tools – a topic which I shall endeavour to keep track of through this blog.

Written by sarahhartley

October 26th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Social media and moden warfare

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It was interesting to see this item from the BBC this week; New media plan to combat Taleban

According it its “Whitehall sources”, the BBC reports that “a radical new plan is being considered by the UK government to counter growing Taleban propaganda in Afghanistan.

“The programme involves using new media like mobile phones and the internet to empower ordinary Afghans to contradict the prevailing Taleban message.”

As readers of this, and Charlie Beckett’s , blog already know, the fact that the military is moving to utilise social media platforms isn’t a new idea.

Activity in this area already includes active bloggers for the US military, a dedicated UK video unit and the openness to engaging with new audiences using the tools of Web 2.0 to better communicate with the public were explored at the recent NATO Public Affairs Conference.

But what I found interesting (but not surprising) about the BBC report is the response from the interviewer. Part way through this radio clip he says, while chuckling; “Well it’s certainly a different way to win a war!”.

He later goes on to dismissively say something about “a Facebook thing going on”.

It demonstrates an oft-experienced scepticism when dealing with the issues social media throws up.

I blame part of the problem on the silly names the developers too often give these services – I mean, whoever came up with Plurk was just having a laugh and getting a business-minded professional to engage with something called Dipity is always going to need a leap of faith!

But aside from the naming, there’s something else going on here, a sort of unwillingness to accept that these tools are used for real communications, really serious endeavour and meaningful engagement.

Anyone who doubts that should spend just a few minutes looking at how terror groups have successfully embraced the possibilities of the internet and utilise mobile and Web 2.0 tools.

When the Talaban mash up a video showing death and destruction and distribute it across mobile and online platforms, it’s unlikely they have much of an issue with the name of the app. or the purpose for which it was created.

It’s a tool, it does the job they need they need it to do, it’s low cost, high visibility - and it works. 

The projects mentioned above are all an acknowledgement of this fact, however difficult a pill that is to swallow.

Yes, these tools may have been dreamed up for use for innocuous reasons but, like technologies throughout history, it’s the real-scenario take-up which then changes the world.

Written by sarahhartley

October 12th, 2008 at 6:26 pm