Sunday, June 30, 2013

Is Your Network "Clean"?

Trey Smith

The US army has admitted to blocking access to parts of the Guardian website for thousands of defence personnel across the country.

A spokesman said the military was filtering out reports and content relating to government surveillance programs to preserve "network hygiene" and prevent any classified material appearing on unclassified parts of its computer systems.

The confirmation follows reports in the Monterey Herald that staff at the Presidio military base south of San Francisco had complained of not being able to access the Guardian's UK site at all, and had only partial access to the US site, following publication of leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Pentagon insisted the Department of Defense was not seeking to block the whole website, merely taking steps to restrict access to certain content.

But a spokesman for the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom) in Arizona confirmed that this was a widespread policy, likely to be affecting hundreds of defence facilities.

"In response to your question about access to the website, the army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks," said Gordon Van Vleet, a Netcom public affairs officer.

"The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative 'network hygiene' measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks."

The army stressed its actions were automatic and would not affect computers outside military facilities.
~ from US Army Blocks Access to Guardian Website to Preserve 'Network Hygiene' by Spencer Ackerman and Dan Roberts ~
Hmm. Now why do you think the military would block reports from The Guardian about the NSA scandal? Maybe they don't want their personnel to get any "crazy" ideas?

I don't know about you, but I find the "network hygiene" explanation to be farcical. I personally know that military computers are not that closely guarded when it comes to the world wide web. Our tracking software has turned up visitors from time to time whose IP address indicates they are from (the US Department of Defense). Sometimes personnel have arrived here after doing a search on something related to Taoism, but just as often, they arrive here because of my left wing political commentary.

Since I have been writing a lot about what I call spygate, maybe (in our own small way) we can offer military personnel a way to get around these government censors!

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