Monday, May 14, 2007

Pentagon Pulling The Plug On Uncensored Videos

Telegraph - The Pentagon will from today ban soldiers serving overseas from using popular video-sharing and social networking websites, claiming they are a security risk.

The US defence department said videos, recordings and messages uploaded by troops in the field on to YouTube, MySpace and 11 other websites posed a “significant operational security challenge”, and a drag on the military’s computer network.

Critics of the policy said it was designed to prevent troops either delivering bad news or receiving it from videos posted by Iraqi insurgents on the internet.

The US military has always barred its members from sharing information that could jeopardise their missions or safety, but the new policy creates a blanket ban on military personnel exchanging messages, pictures, video and audio with family and friends, which could also be seen by millions around the world.

Members of the military can still access the sites on their own computers - but Pentagon computers and networks are the only ones available to soldiers and sailors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US army, meanwhile, will continue to post videos on YouTube showing soldiers defeating insurgents and befriending Iraqis.

Noah Shachtman, who runs a national security blog, or online diary, for Wired Magazine, said: “This is as much an information war as it is bombs and bullets. And they [the Pentagon] are muzzling their best voices.”