U.S. Air Force Censors Blogs
February 28, 2008 5:10 PM
comment(s) - last by
The newly created "Cyber Command" Now controls the Air Force Network Operations Center and bans blog content.
(Source: Air Force)
China, Turkey, Pakistan ... the U.S. Air Force? The Air Force adopts strict new anti-blog computer policy
U.S. Air Force
has adopted an alarming new censorship policy that effectively
bans blogs and blogging by troops using Air Force computers and networks
. The U.S. Army has required that bloggers register with their chain of command, but has encouraged them to write appropriate postings. The Air Force, which did not adopt such a policy, now has turned to a much more restrictive policy that bans any site using the word "blog" in its URL.
The Army reviews its soldiers blogs to be redacted for sensitive information before soldiers can publish them. This is meant to protect
U.S. secrets from accidentally being exposed
. However, soldiers are welcome to speak freely in their blogs and visit blog sites.
The Air Force feels differently, and states that blogs and various other news entities are "not legitimate new sources."
The new policy is partly due to new leadership. Before the Air Force's internet issues were handled individually by each major command. These separate units had the right to control their users' access as they saw fit, according
The Air Force Times
. Now the internet policy has been placed under Cyber Command, which now regulates the Air Force Network Operations Center (AFNOC) in its entirety.
The new ban by the AFNOC's new leadership eliminates access to all sites hosted by popular provider
. Other blogs and news sites, not containing "blog" in their URL are
based on "content reviews performed on the base, command, and AFNOC level" according to
The Air Force Times
. AFNOC utilizes the Blue Coat Software to categorize sites by content and speed the blocking process. Says Tech. Sgt. Christopher DeWitt, a Cyber Command spokesman, "Often, we block first, and then review exceptions."
Maj. Henry Schott, A5 for Air Force Network Operations, tried to clarify the stance, stating, "The idea isn't to keep airmen in the dark -- they can still access news sources that are primary, official-use sources. Basically ... if it's a place like
The New York Times
, an established, reputable media outlet, then it's fairly cut and dry that that's a good source, an authorized source."
Many, though feel that such decisions are highly subjective and that some blogs can provide as good or better news coverage, in some cases, than that of major news outlets. These people will likely point to the recent court rulings that have granted bloggers journalistic protection, legitimizing their profession, at least from a legal standpoint. Others take offense with the new policy as it blocks materials that could be valuable for training and preparedness.
One Air Force officer, who wished to remain unnamed,
the following story
: "A couple of years back, I fought this issue concerning the
. An [Air Force] professional education course website recommended it as a great source for daily worldwide [counterterrorism] news. However it had been banned, because it called itself a blog. And as we all know, all blogs are bad!"
Content filtering is relatively widespread in the military, though not on this scale. Previously YouTube and MySpace were banned by the armed forces for taking up too much bandwidth. The Army has also been concerned with the large amount of leaked pictures, video, and information appearing online. Still many including Gen. David Petraeus, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq, have commended military bloggers and state that they're performing a vital function.
Many in the Air Force are furious at the new policy. Writes one senior officer, "When I hear stuff this utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream ... Piles of torn out hair are accumulating around my desk as we speak. I'm certain that by blocking blogs for official use, our airmen will never, ever be able to read them on their own home computers, so we have indeed saved them from a contaminating influence. Sorry, didn't mean to drip sarcasm on your rug."
While the Air Force spends $81M USD to publicize its new advances, an Air Force officer states that the regulation of blogs has undermined "some of their most credible advocates." He points to such sites as
In From the Cold
, a right-leaning military, intelligence and political affairs blog written by "Nathan Hale," the pseudonym for a former journalist and Air Force intelligence officer, who served for over two decades in the armed forces.
He states, "The Air Force
isn't getting the planes that they want
because they are incapable of communicating their usefulness and applicability in this new war. Because Air Force officers talk more like corporate bureaucrats than cocky war fighters, no one is inspired or convinced of their pressing (and quite legitimate) need to modernize the force. Air Force bloggers spoke the lingo of someone heavily invested in the fight, because they operate outside the survival-minded careerist world of public affairs, with many of them penning blog posts from theater."
U.S. has been highly critical of other nations
, such as
China's internet censorship efforts
attempts to silence bloggers
. The new policies by the United States Air Force are certain to strike many as a bit hypocritical in this regard.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/28/2008 11:55:29 PM
This isn't censorship. This is control of military-owned equipment. Is the policy neccesary, or even wise? I won't hazard a guess...but it's not a violation of personal liberty.
Freedom of speech guarantees you the right to speak. Not for the government to give you a computer, printing press, or private TV network to broadcast it with.
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
U.S. Air Force B-2 Stealth Bomber Crashes in Guam
February 23, 2008, 8:24 PM
Pentagon Reportedly Wants Additional F-22 Fighters
December 3, 2007, 9:52 AM
Former Pilots, Officials Want UFO Probe Investigation
November 19, 2007, 11:52 PM
"Internet Dissent" Key Issue in U.S.-China Commission Results
November 16, 2007, 10:06 AM
UC Davis Discovers Inner Workings of China Firewall
September 17, 2007, 1:07 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Fraud Artist Engineered Stunning UK Jailbreak Via Typosquatting, Email
April 4, 2015, 2:57 PM
Food Chemists at Italy's Barilla Claim to Have Perfect Instant Noodles w/out Frying
March 26, 2015, 4:25 PM
Most Popular Articles
HBO to VPN HBO Now Users: Prove You Live in U.S. or We Will Terminate You
April 21, 2015, 12:17 PM
Quick Note: Lady Macbath -- One Japanese Woman's Apple Themed Revenge
April 23, 2015, 11:47 AM
Even Hillary Clinton Was Addicted to Nintendo Gameboy
April 21, 2015, 10:30 PM
Colorado Man Cited for "Killing His Computer" With a Handgun
April 22, 2015, 1:06 PM
AMD CEO: Windows 10 Will Launch at "The End of July"
April 20, 2015, 7:24 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information