Page last updated at 21:59 GMT, Wednesday, 23 April 2008 22:59 UK

Israeli jailed for Facebook photo

Grab of Facebook site
Israeli soldiers post pictures of themselves on Facebook

Israel has sentenced a soldier to 19 days in jail for uploading a photograph taken on his military base to the social networking website, Facebook.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the nature of the image, but said the soldier was serving with an elite intelligence unit.

Local media say it is the first such conviction for an Israeli soldier.

The case follows widespread reports about the potential security risk of soldiers posting photos on the web.

The Israel Air Force has recently instructed all servicemen under their command who are serving in sensitive units to remove any photos they may have uploaded to Facebook, the Haaretz newspaper reports.

These rules do not apply to member of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

A spokesman told Haaretz the IDF would take measures to educate soldiers about the dangers inherent in the "careless civilian use of the internet".


The defence ministry launched an inquiry earlier this year to check the potential security risk in the dozens of social networking groups dedicated to life in the Israeli military.

The review has found that some troops had posted detailed pictures of air bases, operations rooms and submarines.

The BBC's Martin Asser says militants in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories are believed to monitor Israeli web forums and communities, including Facebook and the photo sharing site Flickr, to get information.

He says some personnel are authorised to post pictures, but only after vetting by military censors.

The defence ministry told the BBC military tribunals have investigated and disciplined about 100 soldiers who broke the rules and unwittingly helped the enemy this year.

Our correspondent says the worst offenders were punished with a month in jail, while others were warned they would face similar punishment if they re-offended.

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