Can What You Post on Social Media Impact Your Security Clearance?

Social media is a great way to stay connected. Before social media, when the world was so big, we relied on letters and phone calls. These were time consuming endeavors to keep each other informed. If I went on a trip to Europe, I might be back stateside before friends and family ever receive my postcards. Now that we have social media, the world has shrunken significantly and it only takes moments to share information. And, we do that willingly.

It’s also great to have family reunions or go out with friends and take pictures of events and the good times. We all want our friends to know how well we are doing and maybe we want to make some co-workers jealous while on vacation. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter make it possible to post your fun immediately.

Social media is a great invention and used for good, can be a rather fun way to keep up with others and allow them to keep up with you. However, such opportunities also provide epic fail situations where the poster gets in trouble at home and at work.

You may have read where school students have been suspended, military personnel have been punished and employees fired for events captured on social media. Some irresponsible postings have had reputation ruining consequences based upon perception as in the case of DeSean Jackson. He is the football player who missed practice while posting vacation photos. Even though he had probably preplanned the event and received permission, football fans everywhere decried his bold and audacious move to vacation rather than practice with his team.

The next time you post something negative about your work environment, the many photos depicting you with a drink in your hand, sneak a trip to the Bahamas, or update your relationship status for the 5th time in a week, think about this question; What happens when the security clearance investigation scope is approved to do a deep dive into social media?

Currently, this is an issue being pursued by the Department of Defense. The possibility of adding social media to the investigation docket may be coming. Per a study into the Navy Shipyard shooting [1], one DoD agency piloted a study and determined that at least 20 percent of the 3300 individuals subject to the pilot have been identified as having information relevant to adjudication.

Remembering the 13 adjudication criteria, there are several ways we can get into trouble through our real situations or the wrong perceptions provided by our postings. If investigators (or even co-workers) discover information relative to adjudication, you may find your clearance delayed while explaining behavior that could be perceived as reportable or derogatory information.

As we go forward with the topic of security clearances and social media, let’s leave the more direct investigation process behind for a moment and discuss the continuous evaluation, the Defense Security Services annual review, or other less direct, but just as impacting ways social media can effect a cleared employee’s security clearance.

The continuous evaluation process is in place to ensure a cleared employee remains eligible for their clearance. Just think about how this system has been challenged as ineffective. Both military, government and contractor employees with security clearances have committed atrocious acts. People who have been vetted with a security clearance have committed espionage, mass murder and terror.

The continuous evaluation process should identify and report problems that can lead to dangerous behavior. However, these interactions usually only occur at the office where everyone is already so busy. In the continuous evaluation process, the behavior once demonstrated as trustworthy should continue as cleared employees perform on classified work.

Employees are relied upon to observe other cleared employees and report any information that might be reportable or suspicious. These are again related to the 13 security clearance adjudication criteria that reflect a person’s trustworthiness. Most of this information is currently observed as employees serve at work. Does anyone show up under the influence? Is anyone suddenly displaying unexplained wealth? Is anyone staying late and using the copier a little more than normal? Are threats made or communicated? The chances of discover are slim.

With social media the playing field is suddenly extended. Now we get a glimpse of a co-workers after work activities. We might see posts from church, conferences or at play. We also might see them getting married, threatening enemies, bullying, travelling overseas, drinking every night or with a relationship every week. Under this possibility, cleared employees could report information to their FSOs based on what is displayed on social media pages.

Consider the DSS annual review. They usually interview employees to determine whether or not there are security vulnerabilities with the security program or cleared employees. They might ask questions about travel, briefings, security awareness and the protection of classified information. In the future they might access information on employees associated with the cleared facility through social media. That would be an easy task since most of us associate our profiles with our places of work. Now they could go in forearmed with information on foreign travel, changes in marital status, and more.

On the same topic, security clearance investigators could also use social media to research information on the subject of the investigation as well as develop character references. The information is available and the ease of obtaining that information would be beneficial to the investigator.

DoD continues to find answers to the question “What happened?” as they look into and try to prevent espionage and terror too many times committed by our trusted insiders. To better vet cleared employees, changes will need to be made. These changes must gain a more thorough “whole person” concept extending more into our observable behavior.

Enjoy the good life that your job has provided. But think seriously about what you want to post about yourself and how you want to world to perceive you. A little good judgment keeps you out of hot water. Bad decisions could possibly hold up or deny your chances of a security clearance.

Foot note:

[1] SECURITY FROM WITHIN, Independent Review of the Washington Navy Yard Shooting, NOVEMBER 2013

Advantages of Hiring an Office Clearance Service

Businesses are looking for environmentally friendly ways to get rid of their used office waste. Using a professional office clearance company to do the job has many advantages.

Hassle free cleaning: This is the best part of employing an office clearance service. The crew will be able to remove and recycle all the office waste with minimal interruptions.

Clearance of all kinds of office refuse: A professional service provider can collect and recycle all kinds of office waste including IT and non IT materials. From computers to furniture, they can remove and recycle most things.

IT equipment clearance and recycling in line with the WEEE directive: Professional office clearance service providers will have all the necessary licences to carry out the job. This way you can be sure that your IT equipment, such as computers and copiers, are recycled in line with the law.

Secure data destruction: You are more likely to store confidential business information on the hard drives of your laptops and computers. To avoid data theft, you need to make sure that the data is destroyed in secure conditions

Environmentally responsible waste disposal and recycling: When you use a professional service provider you can be sure that hazardous materials are recycled in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

Accurate waste auditing and report: On completion of recycling your IT equipment, a professional office clearance company will be able to give you detailed waste auditing report. This helps you keep track of the whole process.

Choosing the right office clearance company

Choose a trusted company: It is important that you choose a trusted company who has all the necessary licenses to carry out the task. This helps you ensure that all the hazardous materials are recycled in the right manner. When you choose a trusted service provider you can also be sure that your office equipment is recycled in line with the WEEE directive and other such laws that govern IT equipment recycling.

Choose a company that offers custom-made solutions: Each job is different and is required for different reasons. Be sure to choose a company that offers tailor-made solutions and can take care of all your removal and clearance needs.

When using a reputable office clearance company you’re doing your bit to save the environment and you are giving back to the economy by helping conserve significant amount of resources and energy. Ensure the office clearance company you choose will help you achieve these aims.

Office Clearance: Make Sure The Company You Hire Is Qualified

With the new government WEEE legislations all office electronic waste has to be disposed of properly. The law applies to unwanted furniture, monitors, copiers, printers, keyboards, mouse and all other depleted office equipment and consumables.

Office clearance can be a stressful task if not done properly. In addition to the WEEE directives, in the UK there are other laws and regulations to monitor electronic waste and office waste recycling. If you ignore the rules and dump your office e-waste in landfills you may be penalised or fined.

What comes under office waste?

It is better to have an understanding of what comes under e-waste before you hire an office clearance service provider. Typically, office waste involves both e-waste and non e-waste. Electrical items include WEEE items like computers, VDU’s and printers. Items like furniture such as desks, office chairs, filing cabinets, white and coloured paper, magazines, newspaper, books, cardboard, empty drinks cans, bottles and cartons, plastic and paper cups are the non WEEE workplace waste you need to dispose of. When it comes to disposing of or recycling WEEE waste you would be wise to hire a company that adheres to the relevant regulations and rules.

Since there are many regulations to monitor recycling processes, it is essential to contact a professional office clearance company to remove these items and legally dispose of them. You need to ensure that the firm you hire can dispose of the waste in the most environmentally friendly manner. When you search for an office clearance firm, be sure to choose one that works in line with the WEEE directives. The company should also be licensed and certified by the Environmental Agency. Also make sure that the firm is fully insured to cover all possible mishaps that could occur during the collection and disposal.

Most recycling crews will clear of the waste quickly and comfortably without disturbing your workforce. Look for a company that offers flexible services and they can come to perform the clearance task even during out of office hours.

Before hiring a firm it is better to collect as much information as possible about the company. You should also ensure that the company recycles at least 90% of the e-waste they collect. By choosing an office clearance firm that offers data destruction/ data wipe you can also be sure that the confidential or business information saved on your hard drive won’t fall into the wrong hands. Try to hire a reputable office waste clearance company that is willing to offer a no obligation quote for the office clearance before any work takes place, so you don’t get any nasty surprises afterwards.