Not As Big A Deal As You May Think

So the military has decided to ban Youtube and MySpace from all of its computers and networks. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m really waiting for the uproar that I know is sure to come, and so I just wanted to get out there and say right from the beginning, this isn’t nearly as big a deal as you might think it is.

In fact, it’s so much not a big deal that I was actually shocked when I first read the headline, not because I was surprised to learn that the DoD has done this, but because I kinda already thought that they already had.

I’ve been an employee of the Navy for eleven years now, almost ten years as an enlisted sailor, and currently as a civillian employee. I’ve never had access to Youtube on any computer I’ve used for the military, and even if I had access to myspace, you bet your sweet ass I sure as hell wouldn’t try it.

The thing is that the military has always held stringent controls on its computers for a multitude of reasons. As pointed out in a conversation with Libby Spencer of the Newshoggers regarding the end of milbloggers, one reason for controls on internet usage has always been infosec/opsec. This is essentially the effort by the military to ensure that mission sensitive information isn’t released to people who may put the mission in danger. In fact, infosec training was a pretty common thing during my own personal experience with shipboard life, and there are a variety of pieces of information (pull in dates and times, for instance) that are discouraged from dissemination to friends and family members.

And yet, with all the training, there are still a sizeable number of folks in the military who either ignore guidelines, or simply just don’t get it.

Tied in with this, there are the many traps laid out in the internet. Viruses, as anyone knows, are pretty much everywhere, and in particular on large networking sites such as MySpace. The thing is, if you pick up a virus while using a military computer, it’s not just you’re own computer that is now hurting, but potentially the entire unit’s network.

And then there is the question of inappropriate content. Sixteen years after the occurence of the scandal which highlighted the subject of sexual discrimination in the United States military, service members are still feeling the effects. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your opinion, porn, pornographic images, and sexually inappropriate material is simply far too easily obtained over the internet, and sites such as Youtube, and much more specifically MySpace, are loaded with content that just isn’t appropriate for display on military computers.

So, like I said, the banning of these sites is only news in that they weren’t already banned. These sites among many others are sites that I’ve never had access to, and have watched firewalled over the years. But, you may say, what about free speech? To that I have only one answer: The military is not afforded this right under the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice).

I know this last little bit from personal experience, which would explain why I have been blogging anonymously up until only just recently when I finally became a civillian, and feel comfortable making my identity known. This also explains the rather ugly picture off to the right which I would like everyone to ignore for now. It’s a terrible picture, really, the lighting was bad, I was at a wedding with a lot of people and so it was kinda warm, and I was sweating a little and my somewhat chubby cheeks which are the driving force behind my boyish good looks in real life make me look kinda fat, and oh nevermind…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook