Thou shalt not use popular sites

1973: “The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) initiated a research program to investigate techniques and technologies for interlinking packet networks of various kinds.” (Vint Cerf) (Much more detaled stuff in the Isoc history)

2007: “To maximize the availability of DoD network resources for official government usage, the Commander, JTF-GNO, with the approval of the Department of Defense, will block worldwide access to the following internet sites beginning on or about 14 May 2007.”

On the hitlist we find the following (Army readers, don’t bother):

http://www.youtube.com
http://www.1.fm
http://www.pandora.com
http://www.photobucket.com
http://www.myspace.com
http://www.live365.com
http://www.hi5.com
http://www.metacafe.com
http://www.mtv.com
http://www.ifilm.com
http://www.blackplanet.com
http://www.stupidvideos.com
http://www.filecabi.com

I really think this is silly – and coming from people who should know better. The sites seem to have been selected on the grounds of popularity – so they are saying that recreational Internet use is OK, except on the popular sites (cause they’re not all social networking, so they can’t pull the security excuse too easily). I.e. they say that you can’t access mtv.com but something like muchmusic.com (the Canadian equivalent!) is cool.

AP report | full text of order (PDF).

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5 thoughts on “Thou shalt not use popular sites

  1. I’m fairly certain that a load of proxy browser websites will crop up in time ‘supporting the troops’.
    Nothing stays suppressed for long on the Internet as the 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 fiasco showed!

  2. I’m amazed that http://www.flickr.com isn’t on the list.
    It’s a pretty bandwidth intensive site even for loading individual pages.
    If you look into this a little more the DoD aren’t banning access for members of the military with their own laptops from using these websites which seems quite nonsensical. Given my small knowledge of how to lock down a small network it seems that the only way to do this is either by having more than one internet gateway proxy OR a group policy was applied throughout what I assume is a domain like structure. If it happens to be the second option then why aren’t personal machines being told to black list these sites? Is it because they don’t log onto the domain itself? Very insecure! Or is it because the only military who can afford to bring their own laptops are the higher up leader types?
    I guess one rule for the lowly foot-solders and another for the army bigwigs!

  3. The BBC has a remark on the question of computer use: “The block on accessing such websites will not affect those soldiers with their own personal computers. Those, though, are few and far between in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, our correspondent says.” That’s why it’s silly. I’d understand a policy of official business only, or time restrictions on shared machines, but if they are going to allow recreational use, having a list like this is simply arbitrary.

  4. How long before the Irish army get in on this act, I wonder, following reports that the Defence Forces have begun a military police investigation after videos on YouTube seemed to show two Irish (UN peacekeeping) soldiers “mock” aiming their machine guns at a group of local people in Liberia. See Irish Independent; Irish Times.

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