Blogging soldiers in Iraq face greater restrictions

Filed as News on May 16, 2007 5:51 pm

According to recent reports, US Army soldiers stationed in Iraq are being further restricted as to the sites the can access and they’re allowed online activities.

The reasoning for these restrictions, which see sites such as YouTube, MySpace, PhotoBucket, MTV, Hi5, and Live365 being blocked, is that of security and technological limitations.

Many relatives of servicemen and women, though, see it as a form of censorship, put in place to cover up a war that’s going badly.

“The US Army’s not going to pay the bill for you to get on My Space and YouTube,” said Major Bruce Mumford, of Chester, Neb., who is serving as the brigade communications officer for the Fourth Brigade, First Infantry Division, in Iraq. “Soldiers need to know what they can and cannot do, but we shouldn’t be facilitating it.”

Interestingly, there’s no mention on that list of the likes of LiveJournal, Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, or other blogging platforms. However, soldiers are required to seek approval from supervisors “prior to publishing or posting information in a public forum,” according to the new regulation.

It’s an understandable move, particularly given the negative press that blogging has for revealing sensitive information that can quickly spread around the Internet.

“I guess it’s a good general policy,” said Lieutenant Daniel Zimmerman, who posts a blog about his time in Iraq but keeps it as “vague as possible”. “If people could be trusted not to break operational security, then they wouldn’t need to have the policy.”

(Via The Boston Globe)

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