The U.S. Department of Defense issued a memo Friday that states it intends to begin blocking network access--including that of soldiers serving overseas--to several popular "Internet entertainment sites" on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The 12 total sites to be blocked include several large social networking and media sharing sites like MySpace, YouTube, MTV, Pandora, and Photobucket.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Army cracked down on soldiers' personal blogs, citing security concerns. Operational security, according to the memo from the DoD that was cited in Monday's AP article, is also a reason behind the new ban on MySpace, YouTube, and other social media sites. But that's not all--"recreational traffic," the memo says, is a drain on bandwidth.
DoD network operations, the memo said, "(have) noted a significant increase in use of DoD network resources tied up by individuals visiting certain recreational Internet sites."
But the AP article cited some perspectives from critics of the new policy, who stated that social media sites are not only an important way for many young people to keep in touch with families and friends, but they're also important news sources in today's world.
"This is as much an information war as it is bombs and bullets," Wired defense blogger Noah Shachtman is quoted as saying. "And they are muzzling their best voices."