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US Military Surrenders To Social Media, Changes Access Restrictions 96

Thanks to a new policy by the Department of Defense, members of the US Military will now have limited access to social media sites. "According to the memorandum, members of military departments and all authorized users of the Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network (NIPRNET) can now use the publicly accessible capabilities of various social networking and user-generated content sites, instant messaging, forums, and e-mail. This includes YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and others. Access to porn, gambling, or hate crime sites will remain restricted, however, and commanders can cut down on social media use if they feel the need to 'preserve operations security.'"
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US Military Surrenders To Social Media, Changes Access Restrictions

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  • I am a little offended it did make the list, it was around way before youtube and facebook.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TubeSteak ( 669689 )

      Nobody is going onto slashdot and discussing operational information.
      OTOH, it's really easy to go onto MyTwitBook and casually mention
      where you are or where you're going and what you're doing there.

      • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) *

        The recent article about GPS games needs to be updated with a new one: Battleship with real ships! It's far more fun if you know people are actually dying!

    • Re:No Slashdot? (Score:5, Informative)

      by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:01PM (#31323740) Homepage Journal
      That's because Slashdot isn't blocked (at least, not on Air Force networks).
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Protocol16 ( 1706040 )
        Wasn't blocked on Army either, at least a year ago. It was blocked on the school networks for "hacking" related info, however. Then again, was blocked for security reasons too. "They can find out how to hack the server!"....uh, yea.
      • I agree, I read Slashdot every day at work when things get slow.
  • You do not talk about Fight Club on the Internet!
  • This makes sense (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WebManWalking ( 1225366 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @06:46PM (#31323580)
    I work at a government site. Sometimes, when I'm researching a JavaScript problem, or CSS problem, or browser bug, or some other problem, I get blocked by the fact that someone's tech blog is on a "social network or personal site". Fortunately, the same blocking software lets me proceed by certifying that the access is work-related. The military should have that same freedom for unclassified work.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by c6gunner ( 950153 )

      Fortunately, the same blocking software lets me proceed by certifying that the access is work-related. The military should have that same freedom for unclassified work.

      Heh. Yeah, that will work. "Yeah, Sarge, I swear ... I need this midget-bestiality-bukkake in order to fulfill a mission requirement!"

    • that these rules serve to protect very sensitive information. It's not like protecting my personal photo album or someone sending annoying emails from my Facebook account to my address book ...

      Social engineers can and will take advantage of the "human factor" within military networks if left to their own devices (i.e., social media retards). Listen, I was in the Marine Corps and although I loved my brothers in arms, not all of them were the brightest bulbs on the string.

      Limited access with layers of approva

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by demonlapin ( 527802 )
        Not to mention the opsec problems that a camera with a GPS might pose...
        • On AF networks you can't hook up Cameras via USB anyway. Not sure about the rest of the branches. So no worries there.
          • Same thing in the Army. USB devices capable of storing data are blocked. eSATA and SD cards still work in my issue machine but not the USB, that only works for non-storage devices like keyboards and mice.
          • I meant in the EXIF data, where USB wouldn't matter. Enterprising 4channers have used that to correlate iPhone nude self portraits with the location they were shot at...
  • by wisnoskij ( 1206448 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @06:46PM (#31323584) Homepage
    That is a little over dramatic.
    • I was just about to post this. Can we please, please stop with the needless scandalization of otherwise mundane news? This is a change in access policy, nothing more.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      That is a little over dramatic.

      No, it's true. Save the women and children! The French are attacking! The French are attacking!

      • Jokes about French military ineptitude may not be the end of trolls. They may be the beginning of the end of flamebait. They may even, in certain crcumstances, be the end of the beginning of offtopic.

        But they sure as hell are not the end of the beginning of redundant.

    • by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:00PM (#31323734)

      Sorry, US millitary Overthrew their previous regime of regulations...

      Oh, wait..

      US Military exploded onto the front page of tech news sites today...


      the US millitary didn't ask, and won't tell what its facebook policies are...

      wow.. its just too easy...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc ( 563838 )

      But thankfully that headline was hard to believe, because the US military is the sort that won't surrender even if they've completely lost. Now, if the headline had said that the French military surrendered ...

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You mean the military that went on to give rise to guys like these []? The one that lost more men then the United States army did in the whole of the war?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)


      No my friend....

      This is SLASHDOT!!!!!!!


      Cut me a break, it's the end of a very long Monday...
    • by PhxBlue ( 562201 )

      But it's exactly what happened. The military's "surrendering" because they've lost the battle -- they let social media get so far ahead of them that public affairs offices can't do their jobs. What do you tell the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs when your "network security" policies keep him from communicating with his troops in the manner of his choosing? What do you tell the grunt on the ground who can't get to his base's "official" Facebook page for no other reason than, "Well, those are the rules."

      • What do you tell the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs when your "network security" policies keep him from communicating with his troops in the manner of his choosing?

        It's our GD military, and he should be communicating through official messaging systems, over trusted communications channels, or in person, sir.

        What do you tell the grunt on the ground who can't get to his base's "official" Facebook page for no other reason than, "Well, those are the rules."

        Yah, a grunt would look for a base's "official" facebook page, wouldn't he? Probably run any little activex/flash/java/click yes to all prompts etc too. POG here.. ;)

        "Well, those are the rules."

        That is EXACTLY what you say, ESPECIALLY to a grunt! Same silly answer I got for "Why do I have to wear a collared shirt, belt, and socks with shorts and open sandals?" You deal with that crap i

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I'm reaching stratospheric levels of dweebiness here, but when I read it I suddenly remembered a Star Trek scene:

      Worf: Very well... Room service.
      Dax: Really?
      Worf: Really.
      Dax: Oh, that was easy.
      Worf: Did you want to fight over it?
      Dax: No, it's just, I didn't expect you to surrender so quickly.
      Worf: Surrender?
      Dax: Bad word.
      Worf: Very bad.

      Source: []

  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @06:58PM (#31323704)

    RT @FirstSarge: Anybody see where that last round came from?
    via TweetDeck
    RT @Grunt88: Second hut on the left.
    via TweetDeck
    RT @sexxysela: Hai gaize! Du U want 2 partay wit me???LOL!!11!!
    via TweetDeck
    RT @FirstSarge: Clear the line, ma'am, please? We're taking fire here.
    via TweetDeck

    • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

      I half expected the last line to be:

      RT @sexxysela: For the last time, we have telephones. Stop using your service rifle to get my attention.
      via TweetDeck

    • I know you were joking, but this is not far from the truth. In Afghanistan the U.S. Army uses IRC (specifically, mIRC clients on Toshiba Toughbooks) over SIPRNET (the military's encrypted/secured IP network) to allow remote FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) to communicate more easily and clearly. Text is especially advantageous for FOB-FOB communication during firefights because unlike radio, multiple parties can communicate effectively at the same time, plus messages come through clearly and without error or

  • Blocking prOn ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dargaud ( 518470 ) <> on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:02PM (#31323758) Homepage
    I never understood the need to block things like porn for the military. You get a bunch of guys together for months on end in a highly stressful condition. Porn would be one excellent way for them to release some steam, but no, they're not allowed to do that. So what are they supposed to do ? Go out, shoot some guys and rape their GFs ?!? I mean is this all it's really about, some kind of control via stress and basic sexual drives like in most wars of the past ? If it was just for me I'd airdrop a billion netbooks full of porn with free satellite access over the middle east.
    • by umghhh ( 965931 )
      Actually if they managed to film osama with his boys doing naughty things that would probably finish aq fast. OTOH the nutcases like this may just hope for the virgins (not sure why would this be attractive but what do I know - cellar etc) so some CGI would be needed.
    • by AlecC ( 512609 )

      According to Kate Adie, the British Army, at least, had a magnificent porn collection in the Gulf War. They just took it with them and didn't need the internet to download it. She was commenting on The Sun newspaper trying to get kudos for sending cheesy girlie pics to "our boys" when the said boys had stacks of the heavy stuff.

    • It's called GO-1. (General Order 1) and it covers everything from Porn to Booze and other things.
    • Probably the same reason as most other networks can't handle it - sheer bandwidth that people will be using. Start browsing a social networking site? Not huge bandwidth in general. Start downloading porn? People can go crazy with bandwidth usage! It'll all be limited out in the field, and why should the government pay for it on base?

    • I never understood the need to block things like porn for the military.

      It's not so much the porn that needs to be blocked. It's the malware and the like that comes with many porn sites that needs to be blocked.

    • You're not thinking big enough - I'd airdrop hookers. Some companies do approve of such expenses for people in the field, so why not the military?

      • by dargaud ( 518470 )

        I'd airdrop hookers.

        And that'd still be more cost efficient than Blackwater mercenaries...

    • The modern Army is a highly professional organization. There's no need for porn. Plus, some people can actually control themselves.

  • This makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by vivin ( 671928 ) <> on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:06PM (#31323794) Homepage Journal

    I remember when I was serving in Iraq (Nov '05 to Nov '06) Facebook was just getting big. MySpace was all the rage. People would upload some pictures and videos. In our unit, we didn't really have a policy although our Operations NCO kept a handle on our accounts (he didn't have access to them, but would just check them from time to time to make sure we weren't posting anything that violated opsec). Also, if we maintained a blog we gave him the URL. I didn't think it was a big deal and I understood the rationale. You don't want to post anything online that can:

    a) Be taken out of context by the media or others (or if you want to be cynical, anything that can put the military in a bad light).
    b) Anything that violates opsec and puts the success of the mission or personnel at risk

    Not all of us had access to the NIPR net. Most of us just went to the Internet Cafe (really, a small trailer with a satellite internet connection), the MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation center), or pooled money to get internet access (2nd platoon pooled in money and set up a satellite dish and a modem, and then strung wires between the trailers). I'm not sure how effective this policy will be in these situations.

    At the end of a drill weekend I'd usually be hanging out at the readiness NCO's office before I left and sometimes I'd forget I was using a military computer and try to log on to facebook only to see that it was blocked. Sometimes they blocked Gmail (but that seemed intermittent - I was able to get to it usually). Regarding the comment someone made earlier that the military should have a policy for requesting a site be unblocked, I believe it does. A buddy of mine works for the NGB's IT department (I forget the actual name) and he handles cases. It's very hard to get a site approved though unless you can demonstrate a legitimate use. It's not like writing code where you can find an example on some random dude's blog. The military has their own sites for resources, and anything you need to find can be looked up in a TM (Technical Manual) or an AR (Army Regulation), or DA PAM (Department of the Army Pamphlet), most of which are in digitized form.

    • That online access to manuals may save trees, but a computer makes a lousy pillow compared to a FM 12-6.
      • don't worry apple will introduce a $299 extra soft case accessory for the ipad that will make it every better than a text book for sleeping.

        your choice of colors include seafoam green, cloud white, sun star yellow, morning sun orange, and hot pink.

  • A positive change (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:13PM (#31323866)

    As an active duty military systems administrator posting from a ship at sea, I welcome this change.

    Being underway for months at a time with a 164kbps satellite connection split amongst fifty computers for over a hundred crew is rough enough on morale. Being able to see pictures of their wives and kids makes all the difference in the world.

    Foolish people doing foolish things are always going to be the problem, not the engineering officer whose hooked on Farmville after the workday ends.

    So long as it doesn't disrupt their effectiveness at work, I very much support this change.

  • no OPSEC here! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by adosch ( 1397357 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:27PM (#31324038)

    When I was deployed to Iraq in '03 to early '05, I had to give up my IT job and go be a grunt for 18 months, and because I didn't have a MOS to prove my skills do some domineering douche E-6 admin, I got to convoy and do escort security. Being the convoy guy, you had access to the motor pool, so I'd get in a humvee once in awhile and do some war-driving on base with what little techie equipment I brought with me just for my own amusement. What amazed me what not only my findings themselves, but news that our officers in our unit would make the commo guys hook 802.11b/g routers up to NIPRnet (unsecured, mind you) so they could have free-range internet in their tents while the rest of us sucked it up in line for hours to get 5 minutes to write an e-mail and have some troll look over my shoulder to make sure I wasn't typing and "sensitive position information" in my e-mail (as if the Iraqi's don't know where all our bases is anyway! Isn't that why I got motor attacked twice a week?).

    The point I'm trying to make is OPSEC in the military is a illusion and a joke and operate under the phrase "Do as I say, not as I do". The highest official is going to thrust down on the enlisted and preach being operationally secure, but it's the same guy who wanted NIRPnet broadcasted over an unsecure wifi router for 'convenience'.

    • by vivin ( 671928 )

      Where were you stationed in Iraq? I was at Camp Liberty.

      • by adosch ( 1397357 )
        Oh, let's see. We moved a TON! Camp Anaconda, Camp Taji, BIAP (south end, but closer Camp Liberty if I recall), then finished way south at Camp Duke (north of Al Najaf) Used to dig the new dinning hall they put up at Camp Liberty.
        • by db32 ( 862117 )
          You were saying something about OPSEC in your other post right?
        • by vivin ( 671928 )

          Wow, that must've sucked - moving a lot! Most of the main body and ops stayed on at Camp Liberty throughout the tour. I was in the IZ initially (FOB Union III) for about two weeks. After that I came back to Liberty and stayed there for the rest of the tour. We had two platoons go up north to Ramadi during the middle of the tour.

          Are you Active Army? Reserves? National Guard? Or Marines?

    • Re:no OPSEC here! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GiveBenADollar ( 1722738 ) on Monday March 01, 2010 @07:43PM (#31324252)
      Same general thing on ship. Internet secured prior to port visits for opsec, but half the officers have wives waiting for them in port. I just told my family that if they wanted to know where I was going they should just check the news because CNN would know before I did. Officers are assumed to be more responsible and therefore given more privileges, but in reality it doesn't work that way.
      • You can also send registered mail home to discuss these things, although that's probably up to your CO.

      • by db32 ( 862117 )
        I don't know anywhere that officers are assumed to be more responsible. In fact, it is quite well known that the opposite is frequently true, yet they are given more privileges anyways. This is actually all part of morale and unit cohesion. You see, if the officers weren't out screwing things up then the enlisted folk wouldn't have things to bitch about with each other as they fix the screw ups. It is all a clever plot to keep up unit cohesion because in any given unit there are more enlisted people to
  • I work in a mission critical (yeah, not really so much, it's weather) field on an Army post. The network is already pretty much unusable during the 7am, noon, and 3pm rushes without youtube.
    Luckily being associated with spoiled chil.. pilots we have a non-government cable drop in the office.

  • Great. I can hop on Facebook and chatter away with the world, but I still can't load Gmail to email my wife.

    Fucking brilliant.

  • How long will it be before the first tweet is posted with GPS co-ordinates that give away an important location or mission?

    Forget the "rob my house" Twitter app, now the 'bad guys' can set up a "where are they attacking from" Twitter app!

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982