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US Military Blocks Websites To Free Up Bandwidth

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the but-why-is-virgin-mobile-doing-it-to-me? dept.

Government 164

DJRumpy writes "The US military has blocked access to a range of popular commercial websites in order to free up bandwidth for use in Japan recovery efforts, according to an e-mail obtained by CNN and confirmed by a spokesman for US Strategic Command. The sites — including YouTube, ESPN, Amazon, eBay and MTV — were chosen not because of the content but because their popularity among users of military computers account for significant bandwidth, according to Strategic Command spokesman Rodney Ellison. The block, instituted Monday, is intended 'to make sure bandwidth was available in Japan for military operations' as the United States helps in the aftermath of last week's deadly earthquake and tsunami, Ellison explained."

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Unclear (0)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501596)

This is unclear (I even read TFA). Who exactly is being blocked? The Japanese? The US Military? Everyone?

Re:Unclear (3, Informative)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501604)

Oh. Damn. Nevermind. Reading Fail.

U.S. Pacific Command made the request to free up the bandwidth. The sites, 13 in all, are blocked across the Department of Defense's .mil computer system.

Re:Unclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501620)

No you were right to question it. The title reads as if some sort of country-wide censorship happened, until I read the body, and then it made perfect logical sense.

I really hate that sort of misdirection from journalists/news articles - how about a bit of proof reading so its not a damn tabloid news source?

(PS: The captcha's a

Re:Unclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501784)

The title reads as if some sort of country-wide censorship happened,

I'm quick to whip out my tin-foil hat and scold the military/government but even I didn't consider that for a second. "shitstorm" ("shittsunami" would be too soon, right?) wouldn't even begin to describe what would happen if that were the case.

Re:Unclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502946)

Why in the hell are people on .MIL accessing YouTube, eBay, MTV, and ESPN?

Re:Unclear (2)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503318)

MWR (Morale, Welfare, ad Recreation). Since most military network decisions are service wide, the military has been fairly lenient in allowing access to "fun" sites as an MWR resource for soldiers deployed in places where they don't have a lot of civilian Internet access (Mostly Middle Eastern areas, but there's other smaller deployment location with limited access). I was in Iraq 5 years ago before Facebook and the like exploded, but LiveJournal was one of the big ways I kept in touch with people.

Re:Unclear (2, Insightful)

bberens (965711) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503156)

Clearly the military does not believe in capitalism and letting the free market decide where to allocate resources. Socialism is WRONG!!!

Re:Unclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35503264)

neither does my employer damn them for blocking espn and youtube. Capitalism is WRONG!!!

Re:Unclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501616)

This is unclear (I even read TFA). Who exactly is being blocked? The Japanese? The US Military? Everyone?

FTFA: "The sites, 13 in all, are blocked across the Department of Defense's .mil computer system."

Same content, alt sites (0)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501628)

So, wont people just use alternate sites for veiwing the same content? Also, wouldnt this lead to an increase in traffic as people search for alternate sites?

Re:Same content, alt sites (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501650)

So, wont people just use alternate sites for veiwing the same content? Also, wouldnt this lead to an increase in traffic as people search for alternate sites?

I think the US Army would be decent enough to respect the reasoning behind it and would refrain from viewing alternatives.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501984)

I think the US Army would be decent enough to respect the reasoning behind it and would refrain from viewing alternatives.

Funny. Apparently, you were never in the Military?

Re:Same content, alt sites (5, Insightful)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501654)

You mean to say the military personnel affected would not understand or appreciate the reasons for the blockage and would rather watch YouTube than help the Japanese.

Or were you just reflecting your own (lack of) moral on them?

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501680)

If they would understand and appreciate the reasons, there would be no need for blocking; they would simply need a nice large sign saying "Don't waste bandwidth!". This appears not to be the case, unfortunately.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501920)

You'd need one heckuva large sign to be seen by everyone in the US military.

I conclude that you are either

a. a troll,
2. really dumb, or
c. in the sign business.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

lessthan (977374) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502164)

It's called email, man. It is the next big thing!

Re:Same content, alt sites (2)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502410)

That would be fine, except most people don't understand what bandwidth is or how they can avoid wasting it (Note: this is not to say that they are stupid or ignorant, they simply don't have a reason to give a shit as computers are not in their interest/skill set). For the people who wouldn't understand the sign about wasting bandwidth, trying to go to YouTube.com and seeing a blocked message would most likely make them give up and find something better to do with their time.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502716)

I'm afraid you are right, so few understand the intricacies of a network. I work with quite smart engineers and when the company addressed the slowdown of our connection we were requested to stop using streaming services.

A couple of them came together and suggested we could all listen to the same radio station to limit bandwidth used...

Re:Same content, alt sites (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501900)

I think you forget you're talking about the same people who did not refuse to take part in a criminal war that caused the death of 100k civilians. I don't think it's unreasonable to question their ability to think of how their actions affect other people.

Note: I'm not BLAMING soldiers for going to Iraq. I'm just observing that they did not demonstrate an ability to think of others, especially not foreign civilians, at a time when this was badly needed. Whether they are or aren't at fault for this is an entirely different topic that I am not discussing here.
Oh yeah, also, I'm not from the USA, so you can save the whole "they were protecting their country and your freedom". Because I know some people here won't be able to stop themselves from bashing me for criticizing mighty Yooessaye soldiers, even though I stated I'm only discussing their observable actions and I'm not judging their moral value as people.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502082)

Wow....you are under some serious delusion about how the (any) military operates.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35503048)

Go out and watch the movies 'Soldiers of Conscience' & 'Sir No Sir!' and rethink that. Just because you're in the military does not give you a blanket excuse to turn off your brain and attribute anything bad that you've done to "just following orders, I had no choice." The military would like you to believe that it does, but that is absolutely not the case.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Moderator (189749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502090)

I don't think it's unreasonable to question their ability to think of how their actions affect other people. Note: I'm not BLAMING soldiers for going to Iraq. I'm just observing that they did not demonstrate an ability to think of others, especially not foreign civilians, at a time when this was badly needed.

These were also the first-responders to the 2004 Tsunami, the 2010 Haitian earthquake, and now the Japanese disaster. US Naval subs provided electricity and hospitals where there were none. What have YOU done to help?

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502444)

Depends. Will you pay me a salary for helping?

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503056)

Wow your act of compassion and self sacrifice is amazing....

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503152)

I'm saying that people in the army do get paid for that, so it's unfair to compare. I have to work to pay my bills, obviously I can't afford to help as much.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

svendsen (1029716) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503302)

I see your point. Mind you they don't get paid a lot (I think a PVT. gets about 20k/yr?) for what they sacrifice. I'm currently joining the Army Guard and trust me it isn't for the money when compared to just my base salary at work.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502580)

You can save the whole "took part in a criminal war" and "inability to think of others" arguments. Just because I said so. See how effective?

I was deployed and I did think of others and I concluded I wouldn't be helping them by taking residence in Ft. Leavenworth.

Re:Same content, alt sites (4, Insightful)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502808)

I think you forget you're talking about the same people who did not refuse to take part in a criminal war that caused the death of 100k civilians. I don't think it's unreasonable to question their ability to think of how their actions affect other people.

Note: I'm not BLAMING soldiers for going to Iraq. I'm just observing that they did not demonstrate an ability to think of others, especially not foreign civilians, at a time when this was badly needed. Whether they are or aren't at fault for this is an entirely different topic that I am not discussing here.

That's pretty insulting to anyone in the military that risked their lives in Iraq specifically to make it a better place. Most of the soldiers over there have done truly stunning, selfless acts risking their lives to help out the people over there. You may disagree with the reasons for going to war, but not everyone who disagrees with you is stupid, ignorant, or evil. To think of them that way just shows you as the one lacking empathy.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502990)

So every order given to soldier should be up for debate and a vote?

I don't care what country your from, based on your observable actions your an idiot. If your not going to discuss it, why did you bring it up?

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

gomiam (587421) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503146)

No, not every order is debatable. Then again, due obedience is not an excuse. It is the soldier's responsibility to know when he has grounds to disobey an order.

Re:Same content, alt sites (4, Insightful)

DrgnDancer (137700) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503430)

Failure to obey a lawful order is a crime and a violation of oath. The order to deploy is a lawful order. "Go kill that civilian" is not a lawful order and you'd have a case if any significant numbers of troops were being given or obeying such an order. It's also worth pointing out that most (for a very high value of most) of the 100K civilian casualties have not been caused by US troops. Accidents do happen in combat and they are both tragic and rigorously investigated when they do, but something like 90% of the civilians casualties have been caused by someone else.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35503258)

Really? You're actually equating blocking access to websites with a war? Soldiers are trained to do what their Commander tells them to do, period, no matter what country they come from. You can try to stereotype USA soldiers, but that is in every military force in the world and all throughout history. There can NEVER be decision among the ranks. Being in the military is not a civilian job where you have the ability to question your boss. If they don't do what they are told, they go to jail, in some countries even worse. Even in the civilian world we are asked to do things by our bosses that may not make any sense to us at the time, but we still do them on the faith that maybe our boss knows something we don't and he isn't able to tell us. Please understand, I am not arguing in favor or against the war, just pointing out that maybe you should actually think about what you are saying first.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502986)

You mean to say the military personnel affected would not understand or appreciate the reasons for the blockage and would rather watch YouTube than help the Japanese.

If military personnel would understand and appreciate the reasons and voluntarily stop using these sites so as to not eat up needed bandwidth, there would be no need for a block, right?

Also, you're the only one who ascribed a lack of morals to anything here. If I were a serviceman right now, I'd say, sure, I'll do what I can to help, but why shouldn't I watch a Youtube video or check eBay when there's nothing else for me to do? I'd not find that immoral. And I think the military doesn't, either: they're not saying it's immoral to watch videos while people are dying, just that they need the bandwidth.

Re:Same content, alt sites (2)

Seumas (6865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501684)

I don't understand why they don't just throttle lower priority traffic. The same problem I have with ISPs. Look, I understand that if I'm a very high capacity user, I might be impacting others during my usage (MAYBE). But the rest of the time, what does it matter how much bandwidth I use, if the rest of the traffic is low? So rather than blocking or limiting sites or total transfer, just fucking set up some throttling rules so that during times when traffic is truly an issue (not based merely on time of day, but actual real current bandwidth consumption and availability), it trims me down.

At any rate, there doesn't seem to be anything questionable about this action. It's not like they're blocking access to information to keep people in the dark about anything. They're just carefully metering their bandwidth for urgent needs during an emergency.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501716)

It's much easier to just add the sites to their blocked list than implement a throttling system.

Re:Same content, alt sites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502028)

True. Anyone who's used QoS knows that you shouldn't ever try to use QoS.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502470)

Especially since typically when you say throttle the low priority traffic, it's often done by protocol, or even port. So, your ISP would be blocking your bittorrent protocol, and maybe news for your porn. All of the services mentioned are http:80 [80] or similar, so they'd be blocking a lot of what they DO need access to. Yes, just adding the most popular destinations is a much simpler solution. KISS

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503484)

My ISP (Rogers Canada) actually has a feature whereby if there is available bandwidth, they actually do give it out in order to boost your current speed, automatically. The result is that my 3Mbit connection runs almost entirely at 10Mbit, because, at least as I've seen, they always seem to have extra bandwidth floating around. The not so great part is that I still have a 25 GB cap. I could pay for a higher cap, up to 175 GB, and a higher speed, up to 50 Mbit, but I don't have much of a use for that.

Re:Same content, alt sites (2)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501698)

Probably not, especially if users are aware of why the ban is in place. Generally military staff have the intelligence to not intentionally disobey instructions/request. The use of these sites could be decreased dramatically, just be telling them not to use them for a while, the block is simply a way of putting a low barrier in place to discourage the final 25% or so of use.

It's like trying to diet. Many people know they should snack less, but struggle to resist temptation. Not having snacks in the house doesn't stop you going out and buying them, however it provides a slight disincentive which helps some people stop snacking.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501752)

Probably not, especially if users are aware of why the ban is in place. Generally military staff have the intelligence to not intentionally disobey instructions/request. The use of these sites could be decreased dramatically, just be telling them not to use them for a while, the block is simply a way of putting a low barrier in place to discourage the final 25% or so of use. It's like trying to diet. Many people know they should snack less, but struggle to resist temptation. Not having snacks in the house doesn't stop you going out and buying them, however it provides a slight disincentive which helps some people stop snacking.

Plus lots of sites embed youtube videos. Someone could easily end up watching one without explicitly going to youtube without a block.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

danaranda (463972) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501844)

Nope, it justs comes up with a military version of the 404... something along the lines of "this is not approved on this network..."

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501948)

you'd think that would be a 403

Re:Same content, alt sites (1, Informative)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502076)

Many deployments of the IWF censorship list [iwf.org.uk] in the UK use a 404 Not Found [o2.co.uk] rather than 403. I've never found any official explanation for this, though I've read suggestions that it's to make people just assume that censored content isn't available rather than tip them off that it's being hidden from them.

I don't know what US military policy is, but it gives you an idea of how censors in the Western world think.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502446)

An embedded video would still be blocked, the request still goes out to youtube's server. If this were the case, then ad-blocking software/extensions would be totally useless.

Re:Same content, alt sites (2)

metacell (523607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501802)

I agree. At my workplace, a lot of sites are blocked. But when you try to access a blocked site, it says roughly: "This site has been blocked to safeguard bandwidth for core business processes. If you are sure you have a business reason to visit this site, please click here." And if you click the link, you're redirected to the actual site. And that's enough to discourage people - if they click the link, they can't say they went to the site by mistake, or didn't know it wasn't allowed.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502016)

We do something similar but the list is smaller and easier to bypass. The reason being that at one point about a quarter of our traffic was Facebook and that has little or no value for our work. Personally, I would have smacked the users but that's too hard for management.

Re:Same content, alt sites (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501938)

Indeed. Getting court martialed for refusing to stay away from a forbidden web site will certainly reduce internet contention.

Re:Same content, alt sites (2)

Voltageaav (798022) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502126)

I doubt anyone would get court martialed. At worst, they'd get an Article 15. Unless maybe they'd already gotten 2 other article 15s for watching porn. Then maybe they'd get court martialed.

Bandwidth tsunami imminent! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501630)

All brace for impact! Military users now offline freeing up server connections. The internets will start moving faster thus making router/switches/firewalls unable to to handle the TCP/UDP deluge. Oh lordy!

pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501634)

If they really want to free up bandwidth, block porn.

Re:pr0n (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501700)

If they really want to free up bandwidth, block porn.

No. If they want to free up bandwidth, then make sure each office has a large local cache for pr0n. LAN traffic might increase, but WAN traffic would plummet.

Predictable (2)

rumith (983060) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501636)

That's a good, though unsurprising decision. Bandwidth should be used for the purposes that the infrastructure has been built for. Recreational uses are completely optional, IMO, and no one sane should expect them to be available during a conflict or a crisis. There's job to be done that you signed up to do, so go ahead and do it. And may God stand between you and harm.

Re:Predictable (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502838)

So in other words this is a none story.
In other news Sony has taken down the servers for Final Fantasy to help save power...
Yeah and duh.

Re:Predictable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35503472)

so what they're saying is don't use the work computers for personal use... they should also join the rest of us and install flashblock, adblock plus and noscript... probably would save the need for ever blocking these sites

Rather surprising (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501640)

* Youtube.com
* Googlevideo.com ...
* Doubleclick.com
* Eyewonder.com

Ad networks are that bad huh?

Re:Rather surprising (1)

Spad (470073) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501728)

When every site you visit is serving multiple Flash banner adverts then yes.

Re:Rather surprising (1)

Feinu (1956378) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501760)

They should just leave the ad networks blocked once normal service resumes - it'll help all the poor souls who browse without an ad blocker.

Re:Rather surprising (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502024)

Yes, we've blocked some of our bigger problem sites and the highest hit counts are from ad networks.

Re:Rather surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502434)

Not when you have this *awesome* HOSTS file [mvps.org] .

Revealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501642)

Good to know how the Military normally spends your tax dollars at work...

Untrue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501646)

from the but-why-is-virgin-mobile-doing-it-to-me? dept.

I'm pretty sure Virgin mobile isn't doing it with anybody.

Re:Untrue (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501758)

from the but-why-is-virgin-mobile-doing-it-to-me? dept.

I'm pretty sure Virgin mobile isn't doing it with anybody.

Of course. That's why its Virgin.

Re:Untrue (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502472)

Yes, it's going to be very confusing when they are forced to change their name to "Mobile".

umm (1)

InfectReality (2018248) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501648)

PHProxy on home comp -> DynDNS mapped to your home computer IP address. Fixed.

Re:umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501668)

Don't know much about the military, but won't the blocking count as an order and violating leads to court-martial?

Re:umm (1)

neffezzle (1862994) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501690)

I think it's a safe bet that most non-geek military types won't figure out how to implement this because they are too busy watching unblocked porn sites

Re:umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501774)

Don't know much about the military, but won't the blocking count as an order and violating leads to court-martial?

Yes, but it would be for a whole lot more than Article 92(failure to obey a lawful order or regulation).

Re:umm (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502050)

Back-door in military network -> Another Bradley Manning -> Fixed.

Re:umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35503254)

PHProxy on home comp -> DynDNS mapped to your home computer IP address. Fixed.

Better idea: just report directly to the brig or stockade for gross insubordination. If you really want out of the military the hard way, why waste time?

Good new soldiers! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501660)

Porntube.com is still unblocked.

This is news? (1)

LDAPMAN (930041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501692)

So how is this "Stuff That Matters"?

Re:This is news? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501734)

So how is this "Stuff That Matters"?

Probably that, for once, the army is doing something useful by doing nothing (i.e. abstaining from an action)? (can I hope to see more such occasions?)
Or sort of a notification that Japan is in "extreme demand for networks" (... and maybe you should limit you pr0n daily quota too, especially hentai, at least for a while)?

Re:This is news? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502264)

The US taking about a form of bandwidth in the open in some way was government-owned satellite networks early ~1990's?
The dream of endless Pentagon’s commercial satellite accounts are dreamy to many in the commercial market.
News like this gives the world idea that something is different, strange, unique, new, spinning up fast, in play?
What sucks military operations bandwidth? Would UAV like use be at the top of the list? Why would the ability to many unmanned tools be of such interest over Japan at this time? Boots on the ground going to be replaced by eyes in the sky? Has Measurement and Signature Intelligence "seen" something over the past few days?

Re:This is news? (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502998)

What sucks military operations bandwidth? Would UAV like use be at the top of the list? Why would the ability to many unmanned tools be of such interest over Japan at this time?

I think you'll find that the bandwidth usage is primarily tied to the fact that they're essentially having to provide command and control networks to every unit in the area (there's likely little-to-no civilian capacity in the areas they're operating in, so they could well be providing the Japanese government & civilian relief workers with network bandwidth as well), and seeing as they're thousands of miles away, and engaged in pretty intense rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts, the ability to communicate status and queries back to the chain of command in the US is probably deemed more important than PFC Smith's need to watch that funny video on Youtube of the monkey scratching his butt and sniffing his finger.

And yes, UAVs probably are in use, for several purposes:
-- Recon of damaged areas, looking for signs of survivors who need to be evacuated by helicopter;
-- Testing for radiation in the air above & around damaged nuclear plants;
-- Surveying the extent and severity of the damage more closely than can be done by satellite imagery;

There are only so many helicopters available, so I'm sure that at least a few drones are in the air providing information and data to help the Japanese government and the military personnel decide where their efforts are most needed and best spent first. All of it takes bandwidth, and I think it's a bit premature to speculate that there's some sort of nefarious plot.

Well, I suppose that makes sense. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501724)

I'd been wondering why all of a sudden I couldn't get to Amazon at work any more.

See? SEE?! (5, Funny)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501738)

All that bitching about useless ads, menus in flash, images in the wrong format, all that crap... we were right!

The internet is running out of bits!

Re:See? SEE?! (1)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502078)

Holy shit you're right!!! The tubes are getting clogged!! Quick, get the dump truck!!!!!

Blocked ? (1)

rafpayen (1972414) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501770)

Can't they just make them low-priority? That's a bit worrying: if a disaster in Japan can make the army block some websites just for bandwidth reasons, what would happen if they had to deal with an emergency in the US ? And what if in the middle of this emergency, someone wanted to see a video on Youtube containing info that he needs?

Re:Blocked ? (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501934)

Except for Amazon blocking (are they really such a bandwidth hog like video streaming sites?), it's actually a pretty good idea. Why does vital info have to be in video format? How about a simple, good ole fashioned no frills web site with a page of text? That would be at least as informative, but conserve enormous bandwidth during an emergency.

Re:Blocked ? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502010)

I suspect that they went with blocking because it is way, way easier(especially if you are just aiming for an aggregate use reduction, not an ironclad 100% ban). Blocking probably just involves setting your DNS servers to return localhost or some LAN-side warning page for the domains. Priority setting would mean dicking around with QoS on god knows how many switches, that may or may not have the CPU time and resources to support it.

babys; lines cut, intentions censored/deleted (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501826)

sheesh. asserting our right of free speech towards the GeorgiaStoneMason math problem, made ALL of our channels go OFF at once. then (to save bandwidth?), our earlier posts (referencing the GSM math problem) have almost ALL been censored/deleted. so, not much left to say/do about that? espn? what'd they do? blogs? parting notions/intentions;

ALL MOMMYS, GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE MIDDLE EAST, JAPAN, DC, LA, GA, NY, FL ETC.... WE'VE HAD IT. WE'RE DYING HERE. they hesitated to use theatrical terms due to the stuff that matters topic of the next story, but they are feeling extremely overextended (even for the advanced lifeforms they are), &/or almost dead. most of us would be a little cranky/colicky in their situation? help's on the way?

good thing they're still little/waiting to applaud us?--

why can't we deweaponize now (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 15, @02:58PM (#35494948)
first of all, it's not a real word, like depopulation IS? next, if it were such a good idea, our uncle sam.gov would promote it for us? finally, (& it sort of looks that way from the babys et al, groundead viewpoint ) it's only rumors that the babys et al rule now, & that stopping running weapons 24/7 would add to our life cycles? the 'math' used has been challenged by the invisible authors of the georgia stone, so that's it? ALL MOMMYS, GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE MIDDLE EAST, JAPAN, DC, LA, GA, NY, FL ETC....

previous math discardead; 1+1 extrapolated (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 14, @10:59PM (#35487476)
deepends on how you interpret it. georgia stone freemason 'math'; the variables & totals are objective oriented; oranges: 1+1= not enough, somebody's gotta die. people; 1+1=2, until you get to .5 billion, then 1+1=2 too many, or, unless, & this is what always happens, they breed uncontrolled, naturally (like monkeys), then, 1+1=could easily result in millions of non-approved, hoardsplitting spawn. see the dilemma? can 'math', or man'kind' stand even one more League of Smelly Infants being born?

there are alternative equations being proffered. the deities (god, allah, yahweh, buddha, & all their supporting castes) state in their manuals that we needn't trouble ourselves with thinning the population, or being so afraid as to need to hoard stuff/steal everything. chosen people? chosen for what? to live instead of us? in the case of life, more is always better. unassailable perfect math. see you at the play-dates, georgia stone editing(s) etc... babys rule.

babys et al; GeorgiaStoneMasons must edit digits (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 16, @03:39AM (#35501036)
if not, all bets are off, possibly forever. we remain conventionally unarmed, & willing (mandated) to survive, which includes ALL OF US. take heed. we know you've done your 'math'. seems simple enough.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed in ANY way..., we use our math. (THIS IS WHEN OUR ACCESS WENT OUT FOR A BIT) so some of our intentions may have been temporarily displaced, however remain unstoppable. thanks.

& it's not hard to imagine why;

exploding babys; corepirate nazis to be caged (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 13, @10:50PM (#35476142)
there are plans to put them, (the genetically, surgically & chemically
altered coreprate nazi mutant fear/death mongerers (aka47; eugenatics,
weapons peddlers, kings/minions, adrians, freemasons etc...)) on display
in glass cages, around the world, so that we can remember not to forget...
again, what can happen, based on greed/fear/ego stoking deception.

viewing/feeding will be rationed based on how many more of the creators'
innocents are damaged, or have to be brought home (& they DO have another
one) prematurely.

so, we'll then expect to see you at any one of the million babys+
play-dates, conscience arisings, georgia stone editing(s), & a host of
other life promoting/loving events. guaranteed to activate all of our
sense(s) at once. perhaps you have seen our list of pure intentions for
you /us?

still looking tenuous for meltdown?--

finally, again, for now; mynutswon; bowling us down in bolivia
babys et al welcome support of Mad Dogs & Englishmen

they do not growl at us. they are very observant. welcome. see you at the play-dates etc..--

we have no retreat/defeat/fear/death intentions available to us. thanks.--

evile gets 'a cut' from every exploding baby? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501956)

no bandwidth hogging end of time steaming video supercomputers required to cipher that? it only becomes stuff that matters when we use accurate math to determine the 'cost' of just one illmotived loss of life/spirit? how many successful filings does a battery contain?

whole universe 'shakes' when one baby is killed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502172)

now we're getting it. so that's why they (GSM) try to keep the # (of live ones) so low (.5 billion)? however, using even nursery math on this (our current) scenario, would render estimates of vibrations that would suggest we almost immediately attempt to better align ourselves with creation, & the associated intentions & behaviors, as opposed to destruction, which causes even more excessive vibration (exploding), & is smelly, noisy & poisonous? some choice. ALL MOMMYS.... see you there. for sure

Who was responsible? (2)

SilentStaid (1474575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35501850)

We know that PACCOM made the initial request, but one thing I always find lacking in these sensationalized news stories is the lack of investigative work that would help us understand the decision making process.

The reason that I ask, is because I remember when I was deployed with an Infantry Battalion, we more or less managed our own usage internally, but everything above the Battalion level (brigade or god-forbid base wide) seemed to have been handled by outside consultants who when I look back now, weren't all that great.

Also, Google hasn't told me what the process was, before any LMGTFY comments come up...

Re:Who was responsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35501884)

Better then around here, our networks people are saying they are doing it for security reasons.
Standard work level that you get from the I-NOSCs.

Re:Who was responsible? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502068)

That sounds like the people who have to provide an answer, any answer, right or wrong.

Nothing new here. (4, Informative)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502034)

The Defense Information System Agency (DISA) periodically blocks, unblocks, and restricts access to various sites as they deem necessary. Generally, the most popular and trafficked sites are affected. Back in 2005 myspace was blocked off, but other networking sites were open. From Iraq, I could get on AIM's web portal (and google chat when it was unveiled), but not Yahoo for instant messaging. Some time later, it was allowed again.

The reason the NIPR exists on .gov and .mil computer systems is so Uncle Sam can do his job and complete the missions. Everything else is absolutely auxiliary and unnecessary. DISA recognizes the importance of keeping people in contact with their friends and families, and that they can often not access the internet anywhere except while at work, so they appropriately authorize things like social networking, news, personal email, etc., so long as it does not negatively affect the organization's mission(s). It may be nice to burn some downtime on Break.com or Hulu, etc., but if that bandwidth is slowing down other high-priority functions, then the line is clearly drawn.

This doesn't happen too often, in large part due to the fact that multiple non-internet networks exist for higher classifications of information systems. You don't want to display Top Secret data on an Unclassified machine, after all. That may land you in Quantico or Ft. Leavenworth :P

Luckily, they've never decided to block /. in all these years.

Re:Nothing new here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35503008)

I was in Italy for 3 years and they blocked slashdot on one of the bases there. I ended up putting in an exemption letter and after numerous days of complaing about how it is a technical news site that included coverage of air force topics they finally unblocked it.

Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502096)

I noticed the amazon block on Monday, though it was originally listed as being for "security reasons." I don't totally buy this explanation and don't expect things to return to an unblocked state after the crisis is over.

It's a little strange to see an announcement about this in the commercial press before seeing any internal memo.

Wouldn't this actually INCREASE bandwidth usage? (2)

mhocker (607466) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502368)

My first thought about what it would be like to be a user in this situation is that, upon seeing the "site blocked" message, I would simply go hunting around for a similar site - maybe MSNBC instead of CNN for example. It's the content I'm looking for after all - news in this case - that matters. I might have to Google around a bit to find that content of course and try a few alternative sites. So wouldn't this approach actually increase the bandwidth usage? As noble as the cause is, this approach doesn't seem very effective to me.

Re:Wouldn't this actually INCREASE bandwidth usage (3, Informative)

alta (1263) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502514)

I think less bandwidth is used for 100 searches and an ultimately unsuccessful result, than in one single video.

Add to that, a large percentage of videos are direct link to the content, and the viewer doesn't really care that much about seeing it. How many times have you loaded up a page and it had a youtube video embedded that just starts spooling up, but you never watched it? They're not trying to censor videos here, they're just going after the low hanging fruit, and this is a VERY effective way to do it.

No probably not (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503242)

Remember that this isn't done all sneaky like. We aren't finding out about this because some clever individual took it upon themselves to find out what was blocked and complied a list. We are finding out about this because the military told everyone. They sent out a notice to their soldiers saying "These sites are blocked so that there's more bandwidth available for things relating to the Japanese emergency." So the soldiers know why it is being done and know that they aren't just supposed to get around it. That will likely lead to people complying.

Please remember the military isn't full of a bunch of petulant geeks who see every kind of authority as a challenge. People like that are either retrained or weeded out in basic. The military is an environment of "When you are told to do something you do it because that's the way it is." So the powers that be say "No video sites to save bandwidth," and the soldiers say "Ok."

All the military's structure aside, they've provided a rather good reason for it.

Re:No probably not (1)

Ltap (1572175) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503382)

Regardless of your attack on "petulant geeks", you're right. Most institutions will deliberately keep secret what they block and, in many cases, why. Lack of information and confusion allows them to instill fear in students or employees. They hope that the fear will do more to keep them "in line" than a technical solution, and most managers/teachers/administrators are adept at orchestrating it.

The Email with the full list (4, Informative)

Stenchwarrior (1335051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35502564)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Caveats: NONE

PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE

This email serves as official notification on behalf of the Army Reserve Enterprise Network Operations Security Center to inform you that USCYBERCOM has directed the temporary restriction to the internet sites listed below until further notice.

The intent of the restriction is to alleviate bandwidth congestion to assist with HIGH Availability/Disaster Relief efforts in the PACIFIC Area Of Responsibility (AOR).

As of 0310Z 13 March all 13 Internet sites below have been temporarily restricted:

Youtube.com

Googlevideo.com

Amazon.com

ESPN.go.com

Ebay.com

Doubleclick.com

Eyewonder.com

Pandora.com

streamtheworld.com

Mtv.com

Ifilm.com

Myspace.com

Metacafe.com

And so it starts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502688)

Block it for a good reason (instead of actually convincing people to use less bandwidth), then keep it blocked because there is always something important requiring a lot of bandwidth, then expand for whatever reason you see fit.

Re:And so it starts... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503162)

Yes, because in an emergency, I really want to see the DoD spin up a multi-million dollar "Uncle Sam wants you to use less bandwidth!" awareness campaign that will take months to design and implement. I'm sure the people of Japan won't have any problem with hearing, "Sorry, we can't support a mission to go rescue your family right now, because Bob just really needs to watch that funny Charlie Sheen cooking video again."

That's a much better solution than the 30 minute solution of blocking the sites, displaying a 404 or 403 page indicating that the site is blocked for bandwidth purposes, and implying that administrative action may result if repeated attempts are made to access the content.

This is an entirely appropriate response in an emergency management situation, where real lives are at stake.

Be careful when blocking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35502704)

A high-school sysadmin I know found out that Facebook was eating up to 19% of his bandwidth, so he blocked FB along with some other (non-educational) services. The next days saw a spectacular rise in vandalism of all sorts; broken keyboards, mice disappearing, smeared screens, and even a sandwich in a CD tray. Still worse, there was a general bad tempered atmosphere in the school - both on behalf of students and teachers.
Interesting.

Re:Be careful when blocking (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503368)

Yeah, that's called "shitting in your own bed", and teenagers are known for it. Then we sit at the board meeting and listen to sob stories about how they have to share computers.

This can't be 2010 (0)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 3 years ago | (#35503268)

This can't be 2010, because in 2010 you would have the technology to throttle a set of sites that were less important to give important network traffic a guaranteed level of throughput--without having to block the sites completely.
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