DoD: GET OFF THE INTERNET. First came the strict regulation of military bloggers, now U.S. troops are going to have to do without MySpace, YouTube, and a handful of other media and social networking sites because the DoD says their use is eating up too much bandwidth. Obviously, this cuts off an important way troops communicate with family and friends at home. DoD claims soldiers will still be able to access the sites on personal computers, but how many are toting their own laptops around Iraq?
The selection of banned sites seems somewhat random to me. Sure, it's easy to understand how streaming audio and video sites like Pandora and Live 365 use a lot of bandwidth. But why is the African American social networking site BlackPlanet banned, but not Facebook? And why is Photobucket off-limits, while Flickr is just fine?
The YouTube ban is a bit ironic, as Stars and Stripes pointed out on Sunday:
Ironically, the Defense Department this year had just begun expanding its own use of YouTube to reach a younger, broader audience and show clips of U.S. troops in action.
Multi-National Force -- Iraq, U.S. Army Civil Affairs Command in Afghanistan, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Gulf Region have all launched new channels on the Web site to highlight recent successes overseas.
Of course, the military also uses MySpace as a recruitment tool -- the Marines have 48,000 "friends." From DoD's perspective, I suppose it's more important for kids to have access to these sites before they enlist. As Jossip quipped, "MySpace and YouTube Too Dangerous For Troops in Iraq, Unprotected Humvees Still A-OK."
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