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Blockage is a temporary measure

The U.S. military has a number of bases in Japan where soldiers are housed and many live for years at a time. According to the military, it has decided to block the use of certain websites from its network in an effort to help Japan recover from the major earthquake and resulting tsunami that hit recently.

The military reports that the sites are not blocked because of anything to do with the content that they show, but solely to increase the amount of bandwidth that is available for military needs. The electrical grid has been overwhelmed in some areas of Japan and connectivity for internet access is not available in some areas.

The U.S. Pacific Command has requested the blocking of 13 high-bandwidth sites that are commonly used on military network computers. These websites include YouTube, Googlevideo, Amazon, Espn.go.com, eBay, Doubleclick, Eyewonder, Pandora, Streamtheworld, MTV.com, iFilm, MySpace, and MetaCafe. Interestingly Facebook isn’t among the listed sites though it is much more popular than MySpace and would presumably consume more bandwidth.

Facebook is a very common way for deployed military personnel to stay in contact with their loved ones so perhaps it was left alone to allow continued contact.

Strategic Military Command spokesman Rodney Ellison said, "This is a response to a time of extreme demand for networks. This blockage will be of a temporary nature and may increase or decrease in the size and scope as necessary. We are doing this to facilitate the recovery efforts under way in Japan. We are trying to make sure we are giving them as many avenues and as much support as we can."





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