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US Marine Corps Bans Social Networking Sites

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the don't-ask-don't-tweet dept.

Social Networks 202

Q-Hack! writes "Citing security concerns, the United States Marine Corps has issued an order banning access to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter on its network for the next year. The Pentagon is now reviewing its social networking policy for the entire Department of Defense, which should be completed by the end of September, according to a report from CNN. The policy for the entire military is somewhat fragmented, as the Army ordered military bases to allow access to social media sites in May."

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202 comments

You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956287)

My grandfather was a Marine in Korea and moved up the ranks from enlisted to officer very quickly. When I asked him once how he got to be an officer so fast he joked (I *hope* he was joking, anyway) that any Marine who could read and write was immediately promoted to officer. On the other hand, considering the level of discourse on most social networks, maybe modern Marines are better off not refining their writing skills there anyway.

However, it does seem bizarre that guys who are entrusted to carry loaded automatic weapons around (and use them), aren't trusted to write a tweet to their buddies back home. A guy is given the power to shoot people, but not to blog or buy a beer (if he's under 21). Seems like a mixed message.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956329)

A guy is given the power to shoot people, but not to blog or buy a beer (if he's under 21). Seems like a mixed message.

They're only allowed to shoot people on command.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Funny)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957001)

A guy is given the power to shoot people, but not to blog or buy a beer (if he's under 21). Seems like a mixed message.

They're only allowed to shoot people on command.

-Soldier! Get down and give me 20 twits!

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957763)

They're only allowed to shoot people on command.

In a war zone? They give the command "fire at will" maybe once. Maybe. Usually if there's jihadist waiving a machine gun around and coming at you, you fire, command given or not. I know of no soldier who has ever been criticized for defending himself and his platoon.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Informative)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958439)

I'm sure there are general orders to cover those situations.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (5, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956357)

They're aren't banned completely, the military just doesn't want it being done on their computers.

I think that's completely understandable, those sites are very attractive vector for exploits.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (5, Insightful)

sixteenraisins (67316) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956679)

I'm not sure why this is even a news story - plenty of employers, my own included, don't want their employees using company hardware or infrastructure to surf Facebook, et al. And they're well within their right to impose those restrictions.

When you're on the job, you're on the job. Unless you're a professional blogger or some kind of pop culture researcher, chances are Facebook and Myspace aren't part of your job.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957425)

Sure, but if you're stationed in Iraq, you're basically "on the job" 24/7, with long periods of complete boredom. Further, you're unlikely to have your own computer equipment to use, and are totally dependent on the military to provide it for you. Social networking sites can offer a good way for soldiers to keep in touch with family and friends and relieve some of the loneliness they feel during their deployments. I'm sure the military monitors every packet going out through their wires anyway, so it's not like someone is going to be able to use these sites to reveal secret plans without being caught pretty quickly. I really don't see what the big deal is about allowing these sites.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (5, Insightful)

malcomreynolds (1358799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958863)

It is not about using military resources "on the job". It's about security. The problem is that extremely few people are security conscious enough to make wise decisions when online. When a civilian is not careful, then may have the hassle of dealing with fraudulent charges on their credit card. If a Marine in Baghdad is not careful, people die. Plain and simple.

Here's a theoretical tweet: "I have to leave at about 10PM to go on recon in Fadullah. Most of the guy in the platoon doing the patrol are okay, but Lt. Jones is incompetent."

So anyone following the tweet knows the time of the patrol, the strength and the name of one officer in the platoon. I was in army intelligence and getting just that much during an interrogation might take hours. To have someone simply give it to you is a dream come true. Some group picks up on this, knows that a platoon is doing recon and when, it is simple enough to set up an ambush, booby trap or whatever.

This is a smart move.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957475)

The guy who used to work here with me was basically fired for screwing around on that crap all day.

Military folks can have their OWN computers, but putting "that crap" on a govt owned military comp would be simply stupid, IMO. And, apparently theirs as well.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

Derosian (943622) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957851)

This isn't necessarily on the job, as most military personal are given a little leeway on what they do in free time, and it makes sense that some people just wanted to reconnect with their friends and family back home.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

Ardaen (1099611) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957953)

Every time my company's filter blocks me from accessing legitimate and helpful content that is related to my job (this happens a few times a day) I get really annoyed.

Fortunately their filter doesn't block news sites like slashdot or flash gaming websites, so I can take a few minutes to read up on the news or play a game to calm myself down. Clearly this is a better situation than having to deal with one or two people who abuse the system on an individual basis.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958005)

Yeah but when someone in the marines exposes vital information via an IE/Flash exploit, people could *die*.

With your office job, you'd probably never even notice.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (4, Insightful)

Queltor (45517) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958287)

Does your employer frequently take you to foreign countries for extended periods of time? Where there are no computers other than those owned by the company? Where there is no internet access other than what's provided by the company?

I didn't think so.

When someone is deployed to a combat zone (Iraq, Afghanistan) they should be able to keep in touch with their friends and family. It's a mental health issue. Twenty years ago soldiers/sailors/marines would write letters (delivered by the Post Office) and make an infrequent phonecall to their parents, spouse, or significant other. Those days are gone.

People now expect to be updated via blogs, social-networks, and to a lesser extent email. That's the world we live in and those expectations (social needs) don't go away just because someone's deployed.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958321)

When you're on the job, you're on the job. Unless you're a professional blogger or some kind of pop culture researcher, chances are Facebook and Myspace aren't part of your job.

The military is slightly different than your job. We are often "at work" 24/7 in places far far from home. Contact with the "real world" is one of the things that keeps us sane. That said, in my service branch, the Air Force, these sites have been banned from the official work network for at least 5 or 6 years. However, at deployed locations, there is almost always MWR computers for this purpose.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958417)

I remember Hotmail and eBay being banned when I was in... that was in 2000.

While I agree with the decision from an operational and "hey it's my tax dollars" perspective, there's a part of me that says anything that can keep Soldiers, Airman, Seamen and Marines sane and safe is worth it.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (3, Insightful)

sixteenraisins (67316) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958553)

The military is slightly different than your job. We are often "at work" 24/7 in places far far from home. Contact with the "real world" is one of the things that keeps us sane.

Your job is different from my job in many respects. I and many others appreciate your service.

None of that changes the fact that your employer is still able to make policy on how the hardware it owns is used. More below.

Does your employer frequently take you to foreign countries for extended periods of time? Where there are no computers other than those owned by the company? Where there is no internet access other than what's provided by the company?

I didn't think so.

When someone is deployed to a combat zone (Iraq, Afghanistan) they should be able to keep in touch with their friends and family. It's a mental health issue. Twenty years ago soldiers/sailors/marines would write letters (delivered by the Post Office) and make an infrequent phonecall to their parents, spouse, or significant other. Those days are gone.

People now expect to be updated via blogs, social-networks, and to a lesser extent email. That's the world we live in and those expectations (social needs) don't go away just because someone's deployed.

I've been sent out of town for up to two weeks at a time for business, and my work computer still blocks Myspace and Facebook. Instead of going on about how it's my God-given right to use the company's computer however I damn well please to keep in touch with my family, I did things that were within the bounds of what my employer requires; I used email, instant messaging, my cell phone, and/or my own computer.

I wouldn't have any intention of forbidding deployed military personnel from keeping in contact with folks back home. I do, however, support their employer's right to maintain their own hardware and networks as they see fit. As far as I'm able to tell, the Marines' policy doesn't prohibit email, phone calls, texting, instant messaging, or other means of contact.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

Mendoksou (1480261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956367)

It is unfortunate, but it is certainly not without precedent. During major wars, we usually censor mail from soldiers to try to prevent security leaks, accidentally revealing the rumors to the enemy really can cost lives.

We need to strike a balance between freedom and safety/security. Preventing all social networking seems excessive to me, but perhaps there were some recent incidents that made the Pentagon panic that we don't know about. I doubt such a policy will stand for long, perhaps they just need some extra training in cyber-safety (like most of America).

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956407)

Read the first line of the article:

Citing security concerns, the United States Marine Corps has issued an order banning access to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter on its network for the next year.

They're only blocking it at the office, not banishing the marines from using it when they're off duty. Myspace is blocked at a ton of offices, but nobody cries foul. Working for the marines for 9 out of 10 people, is a normal office job, you show up to work, sit in your cube, and do what needs to be done. After that, you go home and can do whatever you want when you're home. This isn't a big deal, they're just trying to keep the marines from twittering their day away.

For the remaining 1 out of 10 who are stationed "over there," they may rely on the military for network access, but unless things have changed from 3 years ago, if you wanted internet over by baghdad, you had to arrange for your own satellite hookup and use your own computers. This connection was shared amongst a group of guys and was not managed by the military. These small hookups also wouldn't be influenced by the pentagon's orders either.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958699)

I agree on most points, but 9/10 of marines don't hold office-type jobs. In the past year alone 1/10 of the entire Marine force was sent to Afghanistan, which doesn't include all of those who were already over there. In case you're curious, this info came from my little brother. He's a Marine currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956529)

It's not that they don't want them talking to friends and family, it's that they don't want accidental slip-ups [infoworld.com] .

Tweeting that you're about to leave the base, or that a big wig has shown up is what they're afraid of.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Interesting)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956547)

Such Battlefield promotions are very rare outside of major theater combat wars. They generally occur when a unit has lost so many officers that it cannot function well. Usually the men (or women now I suppose, though that hasn't happened to my knowledge. No women have been allowed close enough to combat in any of the wars where such things occurred) are expected to complete all the schooling and training that would normally be required for their rank after things settle down. My wife's grandfather had to go to college after WWII in order to be allowed to keep the field commission he'd been given while fighting in France (He was Army, but I'm pretty sure the concept is the same).

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958011)

Such Battlefield promotions [from enlisted to officer] are very rare outside of major theater combat wars. They generally occur when a unit has lost so many officers that it cannot function well.

Yep yep. Lots of them during WWII and Korea. The men who did so were called 'Mustangs'.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958391)

Thinking about this some more I think there are two reasons you don't see it as much anymore. First, and most obviously, you're not seeing anything like the kinds of casualty rates you saw in WWII and Korea. Units are not losing have or more of their junior officers, and being reduced to ineffectiveness thereby. Second though, they just don't need junior officer like they used. Don't get me wrong, junior officers are important part of unit function as a group, and you wouldn't want to eliminate them or anything; but in a short to medium term "hey the Captain/Lieutenant is gone, what are we gonna do" situation units can function without some. Lots of things that only officers could do in the past can now be delegated to senior NCOs when absolutely necessary. Command absolutely has to reside with an officer, but other than that you can assign an E-7 or E-8 to most officer functions in a pinch.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956617)

It is very easy to accidentally "tweet" some information that can be used to infer your location. A blog post could be read by anyone, including the intelligence operations of another nation; a simple written letter is a bit harder for a foreign nation to get its hands on.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Interesting)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956943)

(Disclaimer: I served in the Corps)

The funny thing about all this location secrecy is that the majority of the time, if anyone wants to know where (for example) a particular Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is, all they need to do is read one of the trade rags that follows the Corps.

Seriously, my family knew where I was deploying to before I did.

But yeah, this is a non-issue, this is regarding only DOD computers.

Mini-rant: Back in my day, on board ship we barely had email access, and it was used strictly for ship to ship or command to command communications (along with the sat shots, etc). They'll get along fine. Nothing wrong with staying in touch via email, or hell, cell phone.

Letters were censored (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958693)

... a simple written letter is a bit harder for a foreign nation to get its hands on...

Yet they where were censored in the past. My grandmother saved the letters she received from her brothers during World War 2. Some letters have black ink painted over some text and other letters literally had scissors taken to them resulting in some text being carefully cut out. We don't have the human resources, nor is AI capable enough, to censor posts to social networks. Offhand I can't think of a better solution than kill the connection.

While the USMC policy may seem like they are overdoing it given the nature of today's enemies keep in mind that they are developing a general policy that takes into consideration larger and more capable potential enemies of tomorrow. Data mining social network sites could be incredibly valuable. Look at what the British did with Enigma during WW2 with their decoding of every German communication, things like so and so going somewhere for training, being transfered to another unit, ... Little things like this added up and formed a mosaic of a larger picture, it helped. Social networks could be a similar information source, one that is plain text.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (3, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957291)

> any Marine who could read and write
> was immediately promoted to officer.

These days, though, Marines are different. Check out the Marine Corps reading list [militarypr...glists.com] , especially the "Private to Lance Corporal" section. "Ender's Game", "The Ugly American", etc...

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (2, Interesting)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957465)

It's about judgment, not power. Deciding whether or not to shoot someone might not always be easy, but at least the short-term consequences are clear: they die. (And it hardly ever starts World War 1.) But when you tell your girlfriend exactly when you'll be coming back from your Daiquiri storage depot bombing run (coming in from the north below their radar), you might not realize that she might mention your return time to someone, with the info eventually getting back to the enemy.

And that's just the cover reason. There's also the problem of soldiers saying "it sucks here and it's clear that we're not actually serving our own country's interests by being here; I joined to serve my country, not harm it, and I don't want civvies treating me like a Vietnam vet when I get back," which in turn could result in political pressure and a president deciding to stop spending so much money. That can be bad for contractors' business. If I were a contractor, I would pressure the military to shoot any soldier who voices any opinions or posts any of their torture videos to MySpace. The public needs to stay uninformed about the [lack of] utility of the mission or the plug could get pulled. And then nobody wins except the taxpayers. Can't have that.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958817)

...There's also the problem of soldiers saying "it sucks here and it's clear that we're not actually serving our own country's interests by being here; I joined to serve my country, not harm it, ...

That is a red herring. They can email that to friends and family who can pass along the email to newspapers, congressman, etc. For example, during Vietnam soldiers wrote letter home about how the new M-16 rifle jammed all the time and was getting guys killed. Parents sure as hell passed that info along.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957623)

The problem is, communication is a two way street.

You really, really don't want John Twittering about how Joe was killed in an ambush a few minutes ago, when the military has not had time to properly identify the body, and inform the families the proper way. The last way you want Joe's parents finding out is from following the tweets (I hate that freaking word) of Joe's unit...

Conversely, you also don't want the enemy to get easy access to how many service people were killed in that ambush they did. They can use the information to adjust tactics, or re-allocate resources, or just to boost their own morale.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958079)

When I asked him once how he got to be an officer so fast he joked (I *hope* he was joking, anyway) that any Marine who could read and write was immediately promoted to officer.

Don't know about during Korea, but these days the Corps has one of the higher testing/education level requirements for enlistment. http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/genjoin/a/asvabminimum.htm [about.com]

We just like to joke about strong back, weak mind sort of things.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

dbet (1607261) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958095)

When I asked him once how he got to be an officer so fast he joked (I *hope* he was joking, anyway) that any Marine who could read and write was immediately promoted to officer.

There is some truth to this. If you have a college education you are given a higher rank when you complete basic training.

Re:You can shoot people, son, but don't blog! (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958871)

"However, it does seem bizarre that guys who are entrusted to carry loaded automatic weapons around (and use them), aren't trusted to write a tweet to their buddies back home. A guy is given the power to shoot people, but not to blog or buy a beer (if he's under 21). Seems like a mixed message."

Only stupid people carry loaded automatic weapons, and we have already enough of them on the net.

The devil is in the details... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956343)

I guess the real question is who they define "on its network." Major systems, I can see this. A personal laptop? Not so much...

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

Anonymous Cowar (1608865) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956483)

It would be blocked at the router. If you are attempting to reach the intertubes from a military ethernet port, myspace will be blocked. Now whether or not you'll get network connectivity is another issue altogether as personal laptops may not be configured properly within the domain.

Re:The devil is in the details... (4, Insightful)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956805)

Personal equipment is not permitted on any DoD network by policy, only GFE (Government Furnished Equipment) is permitted. However, depending on the technical solutions in place, it may be possible to connect anything you want, but that could result in severe repercussions should the user get caught.

I can tell you that the major DoD facilities in the Washington DC area use port security and disable all ports by default, only enabling them when needed after the appropriate change request has been made and approved, with justification provided.

As for the original post, it is the Marines network, they can chose whatever to permit or deny at their own discretion, limited personal use is a luxury on government (and even corporate) networks, not a right. If they want, they can remove all outside access, and there is nothing you can do about it, short of quitting (not really an option for some military folks).

Also, as someone else stated, social network sights can result in breaches of security, even unintentional, but at the same time, so can most forums of any type (car, geek, hobby, etc). The ideal solution is of course training your personnel, but sometimes, even the best measures will fail, humans are not perfect, so the best way to prevent disclosure (not to mention that all those lovely facebook apps have access to all your personal info which in of itself could be conceived as a risk depending on your rank or position) or possible infection (how many virus's/trojans have been released due to advertiser sites being compromised, but in that case, it also affects every other site that uses the advertiser), is to remove the potential threat.

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

abbyful (1415623) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957051)

"Personal equipment is not permitted on any DoD network by policy, only GFE (Government Furnished Equipment) is permitted."

Very true. My sister is in the military, she can't as much as use her personal jump drive to transfer files from work to home or visa versa, it all must be done via email.

Re:The devil is in the details... (4, Informative)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956697)

I lived on a USMC base overseas for a number of years. Overseas, most US Service members live on the actual base. But they can buy internet, cable tv, and telephone service from private ISPs. The private ISPs, generally, don't block anything and the logs are not usually reviewed by US Government representatives.

However, when the Marines are at work, they login to a US Government network. This network is firewalled and proxied at the base level. Base leaders decide what gets filtered here. Outside of the Base proxy, there is usually another Command level proxy or firewall. This is managed by (in the case of the USMC), the MC NOSC.

So, at work, twitter and facebook are directed to be blocked. However, I've never seen a military network where facebook and twitter were allowed. So this order is nothing new; just codifying curreny, unwritten, policy.

MOD UP PLEASE (0, Redundant)

decsnake (6658) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956925)

I would but I have no mod points today.

Even stateside internet access from the barracks is direct to an ISP (you usually dont get a choice which one) and paid for monthly by the individiual troops, who can do whatever they want with it. On the "corporate" military network what you are allowed to do has always been regulated. While the "corporate" network is primarily For Official Use Only, some personal use (email, web browsing while "off duty") has always been allowed. All this regulation does it tighten up what is considered acceptable personal use.

Re:MOD UP PLEASE (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957811)

...While the "corporate" network is primarily For Official Use Only, some personal use (email, web browsing while "off duty") has always been allowed. All this regulation does it tighten up what is considered acceptable personal use.

The major emails (hotmail, gmail, yahoo) are blocked, and most things that look like a "send" button on blogs are blocked as well. The goal seems to be to prevent DoD users from posting to public places while on the job. Makes a lot of sense, but its really annoying if you need access to a support forum. Or Slashdot.

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957493)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think NMCI runs the Marine Corp's networks now.

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

Krneki (1192201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958905)

SSH tunnel and you can do what you want.

Re:The devil is in the details... (2, Interesting)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956723)

It's blocked on their network. Let me just tell you the kind of Hell you'd get if you plugged your personal laptop into a DoD network. Twitter will be the least of your worries. Since most DoD networks port lock all access (if no computer is currently authorized for that port, it's turned off. When a computer is authorized for that port, its MAC is registered at the switch and no other machines will work) it wouldn't much matter any way. You couldn't go anywhere even if you did plug in your laptop, but it would still get you in trouble if they found out you did it.

Internet in barrack, apartments, and base housing is normal ISP provided Internet with no funky DoD stuff involved. That is not blocked in any way (unless, you know, your ISP is blocking p2p or something). We even had satellite service set up in our housing in Baghdad to give us unfettered civilian access to the 'Net during downtime. We paid for it from a local company and split it among enough people to make it reasonable. I would not have wanted to play WoW across it, but it did fine for IM, web browsing, and e-mail.

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957121)

Internet in barrack, apartments, and base housing is normal ISP provided Internet with no funky DoD stuff involved. That is not blocked in any way (unless, you know, your ISP is blocking p2p or something). We even had satellite service set up in our housing in Baghdad to give us unfettered civilian access to the 'Net during downtime. We paid for it from a local company and split it among enough people to make it reasonable. I would not have wanted to play WoW across it, but it did fine for IM, web browsing, and e-mail.

Thanks for that. I have a friend that may go back overseas, and his most used point of contact with friends is facebook. I was wondering if this could eventually effect him. He is Air Force, but I am betting the other branches will follow suit if this works well.

Re:The devil is in the details... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958763)

We had our comm rep nervous for weeks based on this. The base blocking software had been upgraded and we were having all kinds of trouble downloading patches and and getting to help forums. She overheard us talking about how we could rig a cantenna out the back door to get microwave service from the housing area. We were joking (it would be a major offense!), but for weeks afterward she would hang around the back side of the lab looking around for anything new.

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956775)

I wonder if Slashdot counts as a social networking site. We have profiles and links to friend's profiles.

Re:The devil is in the details... (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957625)

Unless that laptop has its own dedicated satellite uplink, it has to send its traffic through some local infrastructure. Probably the local Marine provided infrastructure. A private machine can have any number of malware threats on board. Which means either: 1. setting up some sophisticated VPN to isolate that machine, or 2. just taking a chance the private laptop won't scan/infect/blab about the local Marine infrastructure, or 3. just banning them. Which is most secure for the Marines?

YRO (0, Flamebait)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956377)

Why isn't this tagged YRO? Or have we just tacitly accepted that soldiers have no rights?

Re:YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956417)

Your rights are stripped once you pledge to uphold the constitution.

Re:YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956431)

"Or have we just tacitly accepted that soldiers have no rights?"

I spent 3 years in the Army and I can honestly say that soldiers have NEVER had any rights. Accept it or don't, it's a fact.

Re:YRO (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956533)

Which in itself is funny, because you guys are supposedly "fighting for freedom" and all that.

One would think that the military of such a "free" nation would itself practice freedom, and allow its volunteer soldiers the freedom to make their own decisions much of the time.

Then again, when your military consists mainly of Mexican thugs looking for weapons training and inbred hicks from Arkansas, maybe they aren't in a position to make intelligent decisions.

Re:YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956893)

Whats funny about it? You're no longer a civilian.

Re:YRO (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956965)

Then again, when your military consists mainly of Mexican thugs looking for weapons training and inbred hicks from Arkansas, maybe they aren't in a position to make intelligent decisions.

Wow, you are a fucking asshole, do you realize that? The military is one of the most diverse parts of American society. Take any reasonably sized military unit and odds are that you can find a service member from each of the 50 states, from each religion (ranging from the big three to smaller groups such as wiccans) and ethic group.

The military isn't perfect but to claim that it's only made up of "inbred hicks" is absurd. I'd like to see you have the balls to make that statement on the street anywhere in the United States as opposed to making it as an anonymous coward on /.

Re:YRO (0, Flamebait)

ColeonyxOnline (966334) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957897)

The military isn't perfect but to claim that it's only made up of "inbred hicks" is absurd. I'd like to see you have the balls to make that statement on the street anywhere in the United States as opposed to making it as an anonymous coward on /.

You confuse bravery with stupidity. That is why you defend the military so ardently.

Re:YRO (0, Flamebait)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958431)

Go fuck yourself

Re:YRO (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958669)

Wow, so the most advanced military in the world is stupid now? What a revelation! Crazy that you haven't been modded insightful yet, huh?

Re:YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958103)

This is a typical over the top response, kind of like America's foreign policies.

Re:YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958457)

Then again, when your military consists mainly of Mexican thugs looking for weapons training and inbred hicks from Arkansas, maybe they aren't in a position to make intelligent decisions.

Hah. Come on over here to the USAF's Officer Training School, if you can make it into the 20% who get accepted. Endure 12 weeks of 18-hour days (at least 8 of which are academics) and then maybe I'll consider you qualified to judge our decision-making capabilities.

Re:YRO (3, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956503)

Marines are not soldiers. It's like calling someone who writes malicious code a hacker. Or something.

Re:YRO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956761)

Actually, we are soldiers of the sea!

Re:YRO (1)

Jeian (409916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958271)

Indeed.

Army = soldier
Navy = sailor
USMC = marine
Air Force = airman

Re:YRO (1)

bloobamator (939353) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958781)

Hellloooo! People? He was joking. Please note the more obvious sarcasm of his second sentence, followed by a sentence fragment the intention of which is subtle self-deprecation. We humans call this "humor".

Re:YRO (4, Informative)

KiltedKnight (171132) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956633)

Because they signed on the dotted line to uphold and defend the Constitution, they lose part of their free speech. The Uniform Code of Military Justice has clauses in it that make it a prohibit things like participating in rallies in uniform. The military is an extension of the government, therefore its members cannot "make statements." Official statements must come from the Public Relations officers. Anything else can and will be subject to censorship. Any ill spoken of the President is speaking ill of your commanding officer. It doesn't matter if you like him or not, he is your Commander-in-Chief. Don't put a bumper sticker (pro or anti) about a politician on your car if you're in the military either. Note that military service members are not prohibited from writing to their congresscritters. They are also allowed to vote. They are not permitted to run for office other than a local one (same goes for Reserve and Guard members). They are not permitted to campaign for a candidate at least while in uniform... I don't remember about out of uniform.

There shouldn't be a problem with personal blogs or social networking, as long as they don't identify themselves as members of the military and restrict any comments about the government and its officials, the military, and their locations when deployed.

Re:YRO (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956883)

I heard someone say on the news story last night (WTOP in the DC area, was listener call in's): "Soldiers are here to defend democracy, not practice it"

Now I do not necessarily agree with that statement, I am just saying its something I heard that provokes some thought on the matter.

Re:YRO (3, Informative)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956923)

Two things:

1) They are blocking these sites on GOVERNMENT NETWORKS. This is no different than your company blocking Twitter. These Marines remain perfectly free to use personal Internet connections however they see fit, assuming they don't pass on classified information. You do not rely upon government networks to provide you Internet access in barracks or housing. Even in Baghdad we had civilian Internet connections available to us.

2) Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen do have rights, but not quite the same rights as you and I. When you join the military you contractually exchange your Constitutional rights for the rights granted by a code called the "Uniform Code of Military Justice" or UCMJ. You have most of the same rights as any civilian, but some are modified or taken away based on the realities of military operations. Upon leaving the service or existing active duty, you revert to the normal rights of citizens. The UCMJ is generally fair, and grants MOST Constitutional rights to service people, but one area where it is more restrictive than usual is Free Speech. You simply have more limited speech rights in the military than you do as a civilian. You agree to this as part of signing up.

Re:YRO (2, Interesting)

jackal40 (1119853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956993)

It's just a fact of defending the Constitution, you are bound by the regulations of the service you joined; very few service people realize that your rights are suspended when they join up. Given they are citing security concerns, I don't see the problem. If they were trying to ban total access to social networking sites on and off-duty, they can do it.

Military Intelligence... (2, Funny)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956395)

...Two words combined that can't make sense

Re:Military Intelligence... (1)

bampot (814270) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958081)

possib-lee I've seen too much...

Re:Military Intelligence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958731)

Hangar 18 I know too much!

Re:Military Intelligence... (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958225)

Who is modding this down? Seriously?

Wow, small world (2, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956461)

A Marine buddy of mine just posted this on Facebook yesterday.

Do not talk to somebody in a bar about the army... (4, Insightful)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956475)

...that's at least what the guy from Military Intelligence told us in a crash course on counter espionage in the middle of the cold war one long and grey german winter evenig. Somewhere somebody draws a big picture from all the minute details form hundreds of conversations: Troop displacement, how many sick, morale, comabt readiness and so on and so forth.Sounded a bit over the top, but made sense. What cost the KGB during the cold war at least a couple of drinks you can have today for a few lines of code. I have not made the experiment myself, but I'll bet that you can create a pretty acurate picture about which american or british unit operates where in Afghanistan and Irak. I think it makes sense: Do not blog, while in combat. Come home healthy and alive, write memoirs, bore your grandkids.

Irak? (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956597)

Where is that?

Re:Irak? (1)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957055)

In "se german" atlas I have at home :-). Pardon my spelling and my grammar...

Re:Irak? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957847)

Where is that?

Next to "Iram".

Re:Do not talk to somebody in a bar about the army (1)

JediN8 (941637) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956853)

EXACTLY!

Re:Do not talk to somebody in a bar about the army (3, Interesting)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956871)

One of the more fascinating things coming out of intelligence circles today is how much we are learning from those minute details, and how much of that data we are releasing to the press. Things like being able to tell how old video of Kim Jong Il is by looking at foliage in the background, or what time of day a Bin Laden tape was filmed (notice that those videos are all against a white sheet, or in windowless rooms now). I bet you could even identify a particular camcorder model (or even unit) by the noise it introduces into a tape.

Loose lips sink ships! (0)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956989)

This is more about controlling the message to the populace than protecting the troops. In order to keep public support, you have to present a nice rosy picture that has nothing to do with the realities on the ground. This is just another measure the Pentagon is taking to make sure they can lie about their progress and not get called on it.

If the American public read the diaries of combat troops, the war would end in a heartbeat. Having a general pointing at a map and rattling off statistics is an entirely different experience than reading about how a kid who's barely out of high school doesn't want to die, and is nearly cracking under the pressure of killing people in a country he couldn't point to on a map a year earlier.

The war on terrorism is a complete joke. It's like a war on blitzkrieg offensives or the war on shock and awe. You can't defeat a tactic. We will continue to lose it because there is no attainable mission. There is no end game. Only endless war.

Once you start legitimizing the insane ramblings of jihadists by referring to good and evil, you lose. They have millions of people they can convince to fight to the death, especially when you're a foreigner treading on someone else's soil. The cost of deploying a peasant to a part of his own country with a box of ammo and a Kalishnikov might as well be zero.

For a good talk on the subject, check this out [fora.tv] . It's good, but any rhetoric watched thereafter will make your blood boil.

Re:Loose lips sink ships! (4, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957323)

a kid who's barely out of high school doesn't want to die, and is nearly cracking under the pressure of killing people in a country he couldn't point to on a map a year earlier.

Uh, sorry, that's really not an accurate reflection of the Marine Corps. More like a form of projection of yourself. Marines are re-enlisting at all-time high rates. This is a volunteer force who signed up in a time of war. They signed up for action and got it. Maybe you'd be pissing your pants in fear, but don't project that on the Marines.

Re:Loose lips sink ships! (1)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958037)

Wow. You totally didn't even look at the article before venting did you? It's people like you that it so Bloody hard to make an intelligent argument against any government policy. Someone will inevitably dig up something like this little rant to show how ignorant and reactionary the other side is.

First of all this is not the Pentagon (yet), it's the Marine Corps. While the Corps is a part of the Pentagon, the article (Hell, the summary) specifically states that the DoD is still working to formulate a coherent policy across the board. The Corps has done this in the mean time. The Army (again this is in the summary), which constitutes the bulk of the fighters in both Iraq and Afghanistan specifically ALLOWS social networking sites on its bases (including overseas bases). While the Pentagon may, or may not, decide in the end to limit this stuff on all DoD networks. They haven't yet.

Second, this is on Marine Corps networks, not on Marines. Marines on their own Internet connections can post whatever they want (well, within reason, obviously they can't post classified information). Marines are perfectly allowed to get their own Internet connections, even overseas. While we were in Baghdad we had a Satellite connection to the Internet that we split the cost of. It was no more expensive than the monthly fee for an ISP provided service States side. If, for some reason you couldn't afford that, there were also Internet kiosks (some provided by the government for R&R, some run by local national companies) on base which all had unfettered civilian Internet. My Battalion provided about 10 computers with civilian Internet access for our soldiers for FREE out of our Morale and Welfare funds. So if you couldn't even afford the cafe fees, and could wait for ten minutes for a computer, you could use them.

Now after two completely pointless and poorly argued paragraphs, you make some decent points. I agree that a war on terrorism is silly, and I agree that the rhetoric surrounding these conflicts (especially in the beginning, less so now. Even Bush in his later years in office toned things down considerably) is, or was, unhelpful. Unfortunately these points follow after your first two paragraphs. I have a much harder time taking a person seriously when it is clear that they didn't even read the summary, let alone the article before posting a poorly argued screed. I suspect anyone else that might have agreed with you feels the same. I don't even want to click your link, since I can only assume it's just as poorly researched.

Common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956581)

This only makes perfect sense. It is best for national security purposes. The next crucial step would be an official policy banning P2P software at the military.

Angry Spouses... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956585)

I'm sure there are many marine corps wives that are going to be rather upset at this one. If you thought that the marines were dangerous overseas, wait till the wives show up at the Pentagon demanding answers.

Amazing! (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956613)

Wow! I wonder how many bases didn't already have it blocked on their firewall. I'm guessing 100%. Mine did.

Re:Amazing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956831)

which one is yours again???

Not news (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 4 years ago | (#28956755)

I've been at the NIH for two years, and they've banned all of these sites ever since I've been here. I was told that it was to prevent the wasting of tax payer money, but security concerns are an equally good justification. This really isn't a big deal. Corporations must do this too. Nothing more.

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956885)

I'm in the Air Force and sites like these have always been blocked from the network. I'm free to use them at home, but not at work. Which is fine. I should be working, anyway. These computers are government owned. Before you log on, they explicatly tell you that the computers are for official business only. The taxpayers are not paying for computers for me to go check my personal e-mail or write stupid stuff to friends of mine on Myspace, Facebook or Twitter. They're paying for the computers to be used to get work accomplished.

That's what our home/library/Internet cafe computers are for. I'm surprised the USMC wasn't already blocking them.

malware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28956999)

how many people get from clicking links on myspace?
do you want malware infesting computers used by our military?

Rather vague restrictions (2, Informative)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957151)

If you read through to the actual notice from the marines [marines.mil] you find that they don't name specific social networking sites to be blocked, rather they describe them as

INTERNET SNS ARE DEFINED AS WEB-BASED SERVICES THAT ALLOW COMMUNITIES OF PEOPLE TO SHARE COMMON INTERESTS AND/OR EXPERIENCES (EXISTING OUTSIDE OF DOD NETWORKS) OR FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO EXPLORE INTERESTS AND BACKGROUND DIFFERENT FROM THEIR OWN.

And then proceed to say that they include

EXAMPLES OF INTERNET SNS SITES INCLUDE FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, AND TWITTER.

Though it seems that even sites like slashdot could be grouped under that definition. For that matter other sites like wnd.com or the Huffington post could potentially be grouped similarly.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28957207)

locating #GNAA, new core is going so8ething cool 800 w/512 megs of Members all over

Makes sense to me... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957279)

Facebook applications are one big, festering security breach.

Old news (0, Redundant)

Fyzzle (1603701) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957303)

This is old news. A Jarhead buddy of mine tweeted me about it the other day.

Air Force not shy about blocking critial sites (2, Informative)

alohatiger (313873) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957307)

I publish www.eDodo.org a humor site for Air Force Academy graduates and cadets. Of course, the Academy blocks us. It's a tricky issue, but the bottom line is that the cadet dorms are gov't property and they use a gov't network, so USAFA gets to filter them.

The original Dodo magazine was an uncensored cadet publication. When the administration started censoring it, eDodo.org was born. I'm hoping more and more cadets get internet enabled smart phones to access the "free" internet.

Back to the topic: The Academy doesn't block Facebook, and that's how we reach cadets now: www.Facebook.com/eDodo

Re:Air Force not shy about blocking critial sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958237)

So YOU are why we are getting facebook blocked!

Also banned: raping Japanese schoolgirls (1, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957363)

You can put the law on the books, but enforcing it is another matter.

Blackhat Keynote (1)

Minupla (62455) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957723)

The ironic thing is just last week we had a military official do a keynote address at Blackhat, and they stressed how important the internet was to the morale and effectiveness of their troops, and not just for operational needs, but social ones.

The official said, (paraphrasing) that they had talked to a carrier Captain and asked him what the most important system on the ship was. He said the internet, and pointed out that the average age of his sailors was 18.5.

I find it ironic that on the heels of this talk, we see this.

Min

tubgvirl (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28957885)

than its Windows FrreBSD continues stand anymore,

Please blog, but you can't use the network! (1)

datapax (1485217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28957961)

A Marine friend informed me that this network access policy announcement completely conflicts with a new order for Marine recruiters that came out a few weeks prior to this message informing the recruiters to begin using social [facebook.com] networking [myspace.com] sites [youtube.com] as a medium to tell the story of the Corps. In addition, Marine Corps News [marines.mil] and Public Affairs [marines.mil] have fully embraced social networking sites, and they have instructed their units to begin utilizing these sites as well. So if these commands have been instructed to utilize social networking sites, how are they going to be able to follow these orders if they will not be able to access those sites from their own office? Seems like there has been a breakdown in internal communication when it comes to creating policy within the Corps...

Re:Please blog, but you can't use the network! (1)

doulos05 (945501) | more than 4 years ago | (#28958927)

Breakdown in communication? Perhaps you've never actually been around the military. It's like a Dilbert cartoon with guns and 1,382 more layers of management. Oh, and free healthcare.

My father is in the military, they have a name for the people who manage their networks: DOIM Nazis (DOIM: Directorate of Information Management). Mordak the Preventer is their unofficial mascot.

Any Marines smart enough to use the Internet? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28958645)

The Marines are the dumb jock force. The idea that one of them knows how to use the Internet is laughable!

Air Force are smart (got to be to fly planes), Navy less so, but still up there (you don't trust dummies to navigate thousands of miles from land), Army so so (they do have the core of engineers, you know), but Marines are just dumb jocks who serve our country by taking the bullets so the rest of the forces can actually win our battles.

The Coast Guard isn't a real force, they just do token drug busts and rescue the occasional dumbass that swims too far.

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