British military personnel must now seek permission to access what was previously considered a vital way of keeping in touch with loved ones and the outside world, according to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The MoD says members of the military must receive permission to communicate about defence through self-publishing blogs, podcasts, audio or video among other social ‘networking’ activities. They must also receive permission to contribute to online communities.

The move comes following bans by other military powers – Australia banned its defence force from taking part in blogs last year and the US Army has also created strict guidelines for publishing and posting information, including resumes and e-mail.

It also follows an incident in which British sailors held hostage in Iran made money from selling their stories to the press.

The MoD says the rules are not, however, new – they are just updated to reflect changes in technology and the rise of self-publishing.

Reported by staff writer