Pentagon Drops YouTube, MySpace from Its Networks
The Department of Defense has decided to ban several popular social networking and video-sharing sites, including YouTube and MySpace, from its computers around the world. In a memo, General B.B. Bell named the two above sites and 11 others as being blocked by the Pentagon starting today.
The military says it is concerned that personal use of the sites on its computers is stealing bandwidth and hampering operations. The move means that military personnel overseas will lose key contact points with their families and friends back in the U.S. Soldiers may still access these sites via private ISPs, but that may be a little difficult to do in war zones, of course.
The British site The Register writes that closing down these access points to the Internet could actually do the Pentagon more harm than good.
Nonetheless, many analysts have seen this as at best a foolish gag on some of the most [pro-US] positive reporters from the Southwest Asian frontlines. Military bloggers and uploaders overall tend to be quite on-message from the DoD point of view, and now this support for the cause will be largely stifled. Others, of course, interpret the blocks as a straightforward case of censorship.
This move has, of course, drawn lots of attention in the blogosphere. Aaron Freeman and Sharon Rosenzweig at Incisity point out that U.S. troops in Iraq are supposed to be fighting for, "in addition to oil," freedom. That apparently doesn't count now, they say, adding that the bad guys will still have full Web access. That point is jumped on by The Jawa Report, which suggests that by not blocking videos made by jihadis, YouTube and its parent Google are "willfully providing aid and comfort to America's enemies."
3:46 PM ET | 05-14-2007 | permalink