Government Defends Social Networking Sites Block

The Department of Defense has been asked to reconsider its decision to block military access to social networking sites on its computers. In regardes to use of the sites, where soldiers share photos, videos and audio recordings with family and friends back home, the DoD cited bandwidth and security issues. In a May 15 letter to the Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, U.S. Rep. Edward Markey argued: "If network congestion was an issue, for instance, it is surprising that no bandwidth-intensive gaming sites are on the list of prohibited sites. I believe the military should have opted to ration any scarce bandwidth resources it was encountering rather than summarily blocking access by U.S. troops completely."

DoD spokesman Air Force Major Patrick Ryder said a response was being prepared to Markey's letter. "We have received the congressman's letter and are developing a response. However, as a matter of policy, we don't discuss the specifics of correspondence intended for Congress, so it would be inappropriate to comment. In regards to the issue of DoD's decision to block certain recreational Web sites, I can tell you that this step was taken to ensure DoD computer networks are available for combat operations and critical support activities." Rear Adm. Elizabeth Hight, vice director, Defense Information Systems Agency, said more sites could be blocked in the future.

News source: PC World

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