Monday, May 14, 2007

DoD Censorship of YouTube

Today, the DoD announced it would block access from NIPRNET to MySpace and YouTube, among other web sites (,,, and are also on the list, among other video upload and social networks). David Utter has a piece on his blog about it here.

The official reason? It appears soldiers in the field are using up too much bandwidth uploading and watching videos, and attending to their blogs - bandwidth that DoD officials say is needed to support massive real-time data transfer from unmanned surveillance planes and the like.

In a statement, Julie Ziegenhorn, spokeswoman for U.S. Strategic Command said:

"We're not passing any judgment on these sites, we're just saying you shouldn't be accessing them at work... This is a bandwidth and network management issue. We've got to have the networks open to do our mission. They have to be reliable, timely and secure."

Secure? From what?

There has been a lot of commentary recently about the in-battle videos posted by the new form of "embedded reporter" - the soldier-turned-documentary-filmmaker. Much head-shaking has been directed at the violent (and horrifying) footage uploaded by these front-line reporters. It was only a matter of time before someone would make the move that was made this morning.

Unfortunately, whoever made this decision seems to have forgotten that much of the support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq comes from the guys in the fight - the same folks that will now have to wait until they get home to blog: US-based military personnel are unaffected by the ban.

As the leading licensee of content filtering technology, at Authentium, we get to see a lot of client-side and server-side solutions. Some of the arguments - that businesses have the right to control their bandwidth, and block web sites that diminish productivity, and parents have the right to create an environment on the Internet that matches the environment young children experience at home - are solid arguments.

But the difference is, we get to go home after work and log on to an unfiltered, uncensored Internet. For the guys on the front lines, there is no "after work".

My prediction? This will prove to be an ineffective move and will be dumped by mid-year. Leaving the front line troops out of the public argument by blocking access to MySpace from NIPRNET will have a negative effect on public opinion, as negative-sentiment bloggers start to outweigh "positive" support for the war from the guys fighting it.

Either that, or the troops will turn to unauthorized Internet proxies created expressly for the purpose of uploading videos, leading network administrators into an arm's race of their own, as they scramble to catch up with what I can only assume will be a wily and formidable adversary. ;-)

1 comment:

aniscartujo said...

just use and you will get youtube in everyplace :)
videos and upload supported :)