A policy effective today (May 14, 2007) bans military serving worldwide from visiting twelve popular websites. The Department of Defense has chosen to block access worldwide to YouTube, MySpace and more on its computers and networks.
Military soldiers often turn to those websites for news from home, updates from their loved ones and entertainment while they are in Afghanistan and Iraq. While they will still be able to access the banned sites from their own computers and networks, the reality is that Defense Department computers are generally the only ones available to those serving in the war.
The news comes by way of a memo written by Gen. B.B. Bell, the U.S. Forces Korea commander, as reported by CNN.
The policy is being implemented for two main reasons: to protect military information and to reduce the drag taking place on the Defense Departments computers and network. The increased bandwidth and heavy traffic to these web sites by military personnel are causing headache for the Defense Department. The military claims that the banned websites “pose a security nightmare.”
The banned sites are ones that generally promote the sharing of messages, video, and audio with friends and family.
Ironically, the Army has recently begun to post videos on YouTube showing soliders defeating Iraqi insurgents. The soliders won’t be able to watch the videos, of course. The insurgents themselves (and their supporters) have also been posting their own videos.
The websites covered by today’s ban are as follows. For video-sharing: YouTube, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos, and FileCabi. For social networking: MySpace, BlackPlanet and Hi5. For music: Pandora, MTV, and 1.fm, and live365. For photo-sharing: Photobucket.
Many commercial companies here in the United States already have bans on these and other websites to keep employees away and productivity high.
We are happy to report that as far as we know, MySite and Families.com are not affected by the military ban.
Mary Ann Romans writes about her family’s money saving secrets in the Frugal Living Blog here at Families.com