Monday, May 14, 2007

No Tube

Following the lead of a variety of other organizations, both public and private sector, the Defense Departments blocks YouTube and MySpace:
DENVER -- Soldiers serving overseas will lose some of their online links to friends and loved ones back home under a Department of Defense policy that a high-ranking Army official said would take effect Monday.

The Defense Department will begin blocking access "worldwide" to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other popular Web sites on its computers and networks, according to a memo sent Friday by Gen. B.B. Bell, the U.S. Forces Korea commander.

The policy is being implemented to protect information and reduce drag on the department's networks, according to Bell.

"This recreational traffic impacts our official DoD network and bandwidth ability, while posing a significant operational security challenge," the memo said.
This is a double edge sword. Where I understands the bandwidth issue, which is why St. Paul Schools has blocked YouTube specifically, I can appreciate the need or desire for soldiers overseas to use these sites to communicate with their friends and loved ones. As tours get automatically extended, you would think that these brave young men and women would be provided with appropriate options to stay in touch.
If the restrictions are intended to prevent soldiers from giving or receiving bad news, they could also prevent them from providing positive reports from the field, said Noah Shachtman, who runs a national security blog for Wired Magazine.

"This is as much an information war as it is bombs and bullets," he said. "And they are muzzling their best voices."
So what might look good on paper, may turn out to be stifling some of our better informational outlets.

Lets see what happens on this one.


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