Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

On October 3, the Vietnam Veterans of America and the Department of Defense reached a settlement in federal court challenging the DoD's leaking of military and personal information belonging to service members and veterans. The settlement established protocols to identify and prohibit third-party data brokers who sell data for unauthorized commercial marketing purposes.

While this settlement acknowledges long-standing grievances, it does not adequately address the very real damages experienced by the men and women who wear or have worn the uniform of this great country.

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(U.S. Army photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Last week Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) shared with the country the findings of our two year investigation into foreign trolls who target troops and veterans online, which includes new evidence of foreign-born election interference related to the 2020 presidential campaign.

Macedonians took over and promoted a "Vets for Trump" Facebook page — spreading misinformation about voting along with racist and Islamaphobic propaganda, and engaging in Russian-style election interference, attacking democratic 2020 candidates.

Online entities from Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Vietnam are persistently pretending to be our congressionally chartered veterans service organization — pushing hateful and divisive content alongside VVA-branded material that they're selling on websites which both scrape financial information from troops and veterans, and infect victims' computers with malware.

Trolls from Nigeria have a blossoming criminal empire that involves the identity theft of service members — names and photos of people who serve our country are then used as bait to lure elderly Americans into romance scams, costing some of them their life-savings, which has led several victims to suicide already.

This week, two more disturbing reports were released documenting the increasing dangers of predatory foreign entities online. Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Research Project showed us that at least 70 countries have experienced disinformation campaigns, and that the problem is growing.

Cisco's Talos Intelligence revealed that an imposter website made to look like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "Hire Our Heroes" was infecting job-seeking troops and veterans' computers with a host of dangerous malware.

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(U.S. Air Force/Master Sgt. Barry Loo)

Editor's Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The same Russian "troll factories" that sought to influence the 2016 elections have continued to target service members, veterans and their families online with "hateful and divisive messages," according to a two-year investigative report by Vietnam Veterans of America.

"They're incredibly good at branding" and are seeking to "pit us against each other" in the military and veterans community, said Kristofer Goldsmith, VVA chief investigator and author of the 191-page report.

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Getty Images/Aaron P. Bernstein

Leading veterans service organizations met Tuesday to mount a joint response in the face of a troubling inspector general report alleging “serious derelictions” in expensing on the part of the Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and his top staff during a Europe trip last July, multiple sources told Task & Purpose.

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DoD photo

A new report on post-traumatic stress disorder and depression among active-duty service members found that Department of Defense healthcare providers failed to adequately follow up with those who were at a high risk of suicide. The Aug. 7 RAND report, Quality of Care for PTSD and Depression in the Military Health, found that almost half of service members with PTSD and 70% of those with depression did not receive adequate care from the Military Health System after they were found to be at risk of harming themselves.

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Vietnam Veterans of America has filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department, alleging its website containing veterans’ and servicemembers’ records violates privacy rights and leaves them susceptible to fraud.

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