The Days of Secret Military Operations May Soon Be Over. Does That Matter?
Social media and expanded access to the internet is making covert operations increasingly difficult, with some experts arguing that secrets now come with a “half-life.” “With all of these sensors, sharing, there are no more secrets…they can be gathered, analyzed and shared in a way that was almost unimaginable in the past,” said Peter Singer, senior fellow at the New America think tank and co-author of “Like War,” a book on the social media revolution in politics, intelligence, and war. By 2019, there will be an estimated 2.77 billion social network users worldwide. With the increase in traffic cameras, autonomous vehicles, satellites, and everything comprising the “internet of things,” the amount of data that can accidentally leak or spot secrets is exploding. One recent example was the heat map of a workout app, revealing secret base locations and movements. “You can limit some of these things,” argues Singer, “but it won’t change the fundamental nature of how the world has been rewired.” A senior follow at the Atlantic Council’s Snowcroft Center for Strategy and Security predicts that this revolution will prompt innovation in camouflaging, deception, and subterfuge tacts, but that they will still be limited in the era of iPhones and Twitter accounts.