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Last Updated : Jun 19, 2019 06:56 PM IST | Source:

Twitter suspends open-source intelligence handles for showing IAF aircraft positions during Balakot airstrike

A report cites sources in the IAF as saying that they were surprised to know their assets were visible on various Twitter handles

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Twitter has suspended multiple accounts which had used open-source intelligence (OSINT) to reveal details of Indian Air Force (IAF)’s aircraft, other than fighters, on the days of the Balakot airstrikes and when Pakistan retaliated.

The accounts, which included @ELINTNews, were informed by Twitter that they had suspended for 'violating Indian laws', according to a report by ThePrint. However, another account @IntelCrab was reactivated.

Some accounts also faced 'shadowban' under which a user can access tweets from the suspended account only if searched with their specific URLs. Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.


When tension between the two south Asian neighbours escalated in late February, many Twitter users shared images of the live movements of the Indian and Pakistani military aircraft. Some of these images included tankers and Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS).

Also read: Comment | What went behind IAF's air strike against JeM terror camps?

Many of these handles used data and imagery from websites such as FlightRadar24, which provide real-time tracking services for almost every flight in the world. The basic versions are often free for use.

The report cited sources in the IAF to be surprised that their assets were visible on various handles.

Military aircraft usually use encrypted transponders while conducting operations. However, they use the 'civil mode' while flying in certain areas or phases of flight, in civil air space.

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First Published on Jun 19, 2019 02:05 pm
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