US forces to block YouTube, MySpace on DoD network
Say they need bandwidth for killer robots
The US forces will "block worldwide access," to a range of websites including YouTube, MySpace and Photobucket from the unclassified Defense Department internet (or NIPRNET) as of today.
In a widely-reported memo, General BB Bell (commander of US forces in Korea) announced the upcoming blocks. He suggested that the changes were as much to preserve bandwidth as to muzzle critical comment and news-media access. "Recreational traffic impacts our official DoD network and bandwidth availability," he wrote.
It's true, of course, that modern warfare is intensely bandwidth hungry. In particular, unmanned combat platforms like the "Reaper" aerial hunter-killer and its smaller brethren need to send huge amounts of real-time video, which has to compete for satellite backhaul with the ordinary NIPRNET traffic from grunts on the ground.
The General's assertion that resource issues lay behind the decree was lent some credence by the inclusion of internet radio site Pandora.com on the banned list, too, and it was stressed that soldiers were still free to access YouTube and the rest via their private ISPs or other non-DoD channels.
A soldier could still upload his YouTube footage after returning to the States, for instance, or even during his tour if he/she could reach any affordable commercial providers while deployed.
Nonetheless, many analysts have seen this as at best a foolish gag on some of the most 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.
There could be an element of truth in all these positions. ®
Are you kidding me?
Ok, as to "Not fair for soldiers" comment.
- No one made them join the army, there are all kinds of sucky jobs in this world that people do for different reasons. Yes the military is very like a company in alot of respects. And alot of your poverty stricken do not have internet and if they have a computer and it does have a connection, then they might very well be on dialup and pretty much find that alot of those pages have loading problems that make them close to unusable. I know several rural areas where 28k is the top connection speed due to old phone lines.
- Do you work in IT? Do you know what type of struggles and costs large companies have to go through due to trying to maintain bandwith, especially when dealing with remote locations?
- Last of all, I doubt many of us truly know what the military budget is really like, so its hard to just say they have a ton to spend on any one area. You also have to think of where you really think money should go, a couple added comforts or maybe salary increases or more money into technology for defense, intelligence, etc?
There are alot of things to think about. From an IT perspective, most companies are going to monitor their bandwith usage. Personally I'm surprised they even HAD access to those sites on the military network.
... I think it's still a lot easier than being shot at by angry arabs who are still going through teen angst.
Seems reasonable to me...
I have to agree with Mark and Kain, after all if you were running a company and recreational use of the systems you provided your staff were infringing on the actual business uses then I can't imagine anybody that wouldn't block or ban the large traffic sites.
Just because it's a Government Department doesn't change that any.