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Soldiers Can't Blog Without Approval

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the how-else-will-we-know-what-they-ate-for-lunch dept.

Privacy 358

denebian devil writes "Wired.com has obtained a copy of updated US Army rules (pdf) that force soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages without first clearing the content with a superior officer. Previous editions of the rules asked Army personnel to "consult with their immediate supervisor" before posting a document "that might contain sensitive and/or critical information in a public forum." The new version, in contrast, requires "an OPSEC review prior to publishing" anything — from "web log (blog) postings" to comments on internet message boards, from resumes to letters home. Under the strictest reading of the rule, a soldier must check with his or her superior officer before every blog entry posted and every email sent, though the method of enforcing these regulations is subject to choices made by the unit commanders. According to Wired, active-duty troops aren't the only ones affected by the new guidelines. Civilians working for the military, Army contractors — even soldiers' families — are all subject to the directive as well, though many of the people affected by these new regulations can't even access them because they are being kept on the military's restricted Army Knowledge Online intranet. Wired also interviewed Major Ray Ceralde, author of the new regulations, about why this change has been made."

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Soldier's what can't blog? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956711)

Oh, you meant soldiers.

For the record... (5, Informative)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956771)

"Soldier's Can't Blog Without Approval" was not the title I gave it. Perhaps CmdrTaco has just had a long day.

Re:For the record... (4, Funny)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957253)

Perhaps CmdrTaco has just had a long day.

After reading the comments at -1, the posters there say that he's quite a busy guy...

Re:For the record... (1, Funny)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957259)

Nope, that's business as usual for him.

Soldier's ?!? (0, Offtopic)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956731)

Someone prematurely punctuated. There are pills for that now.

denebian_devil can't submit without bad grammar (0, Redundant)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956935)

Pushing preview plus proofreading prevents provoking punctuation problem posts.

So how do you know if you're affected? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956775)

I work for subcontractor on-site for a major armed forces contractor. Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.

Re:So how do you know if you're affected? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956917)

Stop posting anonymously and you'll find out soon enough!

/inthesameboat

Re:So how do you know if you're affected? (3, Interesting)

ratonu (868505) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957063)

This is easy to solve.
Post 40-50 short messages every day and go to your "immediate supervisor" with a written memo each time you post a comm like "Are you sure?".
After maximum 3-4 days they will issue a general clearance for you, and maybe even the rest of the "company".
Or fire you for wasting time on the net. But then it's not firing AT you anyway, so it's not that dangerous. Or you can just post after working hours, every 10 minutes for the entire evening, and there's no retaliation possible for that act.

Re:So how do you know if you're affected? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957003)

I work for subcontractor on-site for a major armed forces contractor. Posting anonymously for obvious reasons.


Maybe, maybe not.

From TFA (pdf):

Prior approval is required from the
UA/RA before imposing OPSEC requirements on a subcontractor.


Re:So how do you know if you're affected? (1)

lanswitch (705539) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957207)

so the US government is trying to get a grip on the information about the war in iraq. this seems quite normal for a country at war.

that's OK (1, Insightful)

ack154 (591432) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956783)

Sounds like more of a PITA than anything at all... and to me, it doesn't seem like it'll make any difference in keeping information "secure" anyways. Anyone that wants to know anything about our military can probably just watch the news. They seem to tell enough of our "secret" plans most of the time anyways.

Re:that's OK (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956887)

Absolutely, but the official news are not the better way to tell if your army is winning or not, grunt's gutt feeling is.

Think worst case - this is military CYA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956945)

If they don't have a rule against it, when someone blogs something that truly is damaging the Army won't be able to do anything about it.

So, in typical bureaucratic fashion, they effectively outlaw the practice.

And it's not just the US Army that does this. This is no different than some large corporation setting a policy that you can't load personal software on company computers, or schools putting in censoring tools.

It's CYA in case something goes wrong - the top management can then point to a rule they made.

Re:that's OK (4, Insightful)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956963)

I would say this is more than just a "PITA" for the soldiers. No one would argue that soldiers should have unhindered freedom of speech, considering the sensitivity of their job. It's understandable that soldiers (or their commanders) have to censor what they say about troop locations, operations, etc. But this level of control over blogs and emails could potentially be very stifling to the point of effectively eliminating soldier blogs altogether. What about the soldier who happens to disagree with an (unclassified) Army policy (e.g. treatment of gays in the military). Of course their opinion is no secret if they're blogging about it, but the blog does in some situations offer a bit of anonymity. But if a soldier has to clear such blog entries through a superior officer every time they're posted, in essence waiving their opinion in their superior's face, the soldier may decide not to post it at all for fear of internal political/social repercussions.

Couple that with reviewing all of a soldier's private emails, you may as well just ban soldiers from use of the internet altogether.

Re:that's OK (2, Insightful)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957217)

If you think the US military has time to review all of a soldier's private emails, you're seriously misinformed. The military is struggling to recruit and attrition is at an all-time high. The only time this will be used is to nail someone to the cross who screwed up in some other way.

This gives the command the authority to enforce certain necessary restrictions. It's highly unlikely that any commander will feel his/her troops have the time or inclination to enforce this rule to the full extent, and even more unlikely that a commander would bother. This will be reserved for trouble makers or people who can't keep their mouths shut (which was already against the UCMJ) nothing more.

Re:that's OK (-1, Flamebait)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957297)

But this level of control over blogs and emails could potentially be very stifling to the point of effectively eliminating soldier blogs altogether.

Oh, I'm sure they'll still allow blogs by soldier who are supportive of the war. Especially if they're "loyal bushies"...

The email thing is wrong. (2, Informative)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957437)

From TFA:

The regulation says that a Soldier or other U.S. Army personnel must consult with their immediate supervisor and OPSEC officer prior to posting information in a public forum. However, this is where unit commander or organization leadership specifies in orders, policies, or directives how this will be done. Some units may require that Soldiers register their blog with the unit for identification purposes with occasional spot checks after an initial review. Other units may require a review before every posting. A private e-mail message to Family Members is not considered posting information in a public forum, but U.S. Army personnel are informed that unclassified e-mails can be intercepted and that they shouldn't write anything that they wouldn't say on an unsecure phone. While it is not practical to check all communication, especially private communication, the U.S. Army trusts that Soldiers and U.S. Army personnel will do the right things to maintain proper security when they understand their role in it.
There seems to be a mistaken assumption going around that the new regs require all email home from U.S. personnel be vetted, and the guy clearly says that's not the case -- they're aiming the regulation specifically at messages posted to public forums, not 1:1 communication like email or voice phone. The only thing the guy said about email was basically not to treat it as if it were secure, which is basically what we'd like everyone to do, all the time, because it is screamingly insecure.

Absolutely Necessary (5, Informative)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956785)

To Whom it May Concern:

Today we are going to be traveling along road X and going to destination Y around noon. Boy, it is going to be hot. While there, we are going to be picking up an informant. He would be in big trouble if he is found out.

Re:Absolutely Necessary (1)

Ryan Amos (16972) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956877)

Is that the military version of the "My mood: Suicidal" tag on emospace?

Re:Absolutely Necessary (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957143)

Yes, but it's more analogous to suicide by cop using a real gun - it will probably lead to more than just the offender getting killed.

Re:Absolutely Necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957321)

You are unclear about what they are doing now. There has always been a strict policy requiring the review of items that have information that my compromise current military actions. It has worked. This change was done because the news out of these areas was in conflict with the propganda the Bush administration was spoon feeding us. It is not the terrorist they fear reading the blogs, it is the United States citizens.

Re:Absolutely Necessary (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957439)

Unfortunately this will actually wind up to be a DRM like solution: It will annoy those who follow the rules, and those who don't want to follow the rules will circumvent it easily enough. If you (as a soldier) wanted to release information to the public and/or the enemy, this rule will not stop you. If anything it would be the enforcement of this rule that could stop you except that as TFA says, no commander has the kind of time this rule would require to enforce, and over time the rule will become ignored and irrelevant.

And for the record, there are 11 types of people in the world: Those that understand Binary, those that don't, and those that are extremely tired of that joke.

-Rick

Not to be a spelling nerd... (-1, Offtopic)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956801)

But "Solderier's" is the sort of mistake that professionals just shouldn't make. If you can't tell the difference between a plural and a possessive, you need to hire someone else to do the writing for you.

Re:Not to be a spelling nerd... (1)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956905)

God damn it. "Soldier's."

Fine, I'll go hire someone to write for me.

Re:Not to be a spelling nerd... (1)

Rod the Critic (986986) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957467)

Well, I for one am not going to be accusing you of being a spelling nerd.

Binding? (1)

jqpublic13 (935916) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956829)

...though many of the people affected by these new regulations can't even access them because they are being kept on the military's restricted Army Knowledge Online intranet.

Is this like an unenforcable EULA? If I can't read it before I have to abide by it, is that legal and binding?

Re:Binding? (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956931)

Aiding and abetting the enemy in times of war is one of the few crimes actually mentioned in the Constitution. Regulations against providing sensitive information to others makes perfect sense.

Censoring other communication is for the same reason as any other censorship: hiding the truth. It is quite clear that the Administration does not want the opinions of the men on the ground to be known to the general public. It's bad enough from their point of view that no one outside the Administration has *anything* good to say about how the war is being conducted and what the chances for success are. The last thing they want is for people with first-hand experience telling the world that Bush couldn't lead a Boy Scout troop, much less a war.

Re:Binding? (-1, Troll)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957185)

Haven't you heard of Catch-22?

Speaking as an Army employee (3, Informative)

ohearn (969704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957247)

"...though many of the people affected by these new regulations can't even access them because they are being kept on the military's restricted Army Knowledge Online intranet."

BS. Every soldier, family member, or Army civilian has access to AKO. If a member of a soldier's family does not then all the have to do is put in the request and it doesn't take very long at all.

Secondly Army regulations can only apply to people directly working for the Army. This means soldiers and Army civilians. The families are not held by these same regs, although a family member blogging something stupid could threaten a security clearance for someone. If you want something to apply to the general civilian population other than government employees then you have to get Congress to pass a law to cover it.

I just figured someone who actually knew what the hell they were talking about should chime in here. And the reason for the regs changing is that soldiers were putting SBU (sensitive but unclassified) information on blogs so that family back home could see it and not thinking about the fact that so could the rest of the world (including hostiles in the area). The Army fully understand soldiers wanting a connection to home, but they also realize the dangers in not controlling information.

Example: A soldier posts something about a family member back home in whatever town they came from. Maybe they were even thoughtless enough to mention where this person works, goes to school, whatever. Now any terrorist that wants to doesn't have to target the soldier, they go to the family's house back home where most people assume it is safe and kill them in the middle of the night. You can imagine what even one or two incidents like this do to moral in the field.

Re:Speaking as an Army employee (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957557)

Example: A soldier posts something about a family member back home in whatever town they came from. Maybe they were even thoughtless enough to mention where this person works, goes to school, whatever. Now any terrorist that wants to doesn't have to target the soldier, they go to the family's house back home where most people assume it is safe and kill them in the middle of the night.

Bringing terrorists into this discussion like this was just silly. There's plenty more common criminals, and armed force's family members are far more likely to fall victim to them. I completely understand the need to censor information about military actions, but to be concerned that random Iraqi insurgent will be willing (or able) to travel all the way to Tuscaloosa, Alabama? To kill an individual after finding out their workplace? If they had the ability to strike in the US with impunity, they wouldn't be concerned with individuals.

Re:Binding? (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957475)

Double Secret Probation.

Army Knowledge Online info is wrong (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956837)

AKO is not restricted, neither is it an intranet. It's the Army's main web portal and e-mail site for Service Members (and DA civilians.) Everyone in the Army (and National Guard and Reserves) is required to get an account.

I would expect better fact checking, but then I remembered this slashdot.

They can't write letters, either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956841)

This isn't news, truthfully. The whole thing is pretty much a reinforcement of status quo.

Haveing many of the people affected by these new.. (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956845)

rules not able to read them is part of plan to get rid of people they don't like by saying that you broke a rules that is restricted to you and I can't say anything more about it.

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956865)

Soldiers (and soldier's) have always known we give up some of our liberties for the privilege of serving. For instance, criticizing the President is a crime. I bit permanent holes in my tongue when Clinton was the CinC.

Tired of this (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956881)

I've had enough of stupid idiots not being able to form plurals of words in English, which are, by the way, one of the most simple ones out of any language. JUST - ADD - S. You have an excuse if it's a Latin loan word such as antenna (pl. antennae), but there's no excuse to add apostrophes into every damned place possible..

Re:Tired of this (1)

MLease (652529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957047)

B'ut we's like's ap'ostrophe's!

-M'ike'

Re:Tired of this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957123)

JUST - ADD - S

Man, I hate how we're overrun with all these language princesss that think they're better than everyone else.

Re:Tired of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957583)

How many boxs should I order?

IF you have time to blog... (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956883)

Why are you not taking the expierence to heart , and work on a real solution?
Political people are just like the 'student body president' an ineffectual
asswiper.

I would NOT emphasize Democracy, I would try ti unite "disparet" factions, and
show how they are sharing common goals.

Oooops.

I have a suggestion (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957187)

Why don't you go fuck yourself?

This is needed (2, Insightful)

Cyberglich (525256) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956893)

Its just like a NDA for a major corporation. But the stakes are life and death. If the censorships is being abused is one thing but that fact that it exists is to be expected.

This won't last long (5, Informative)

Jere_Jones (1095681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956897)

First off, I'm not in the Army. I am, however, in the Navy and there have always been regulations about what can and cannot be shared with the public. OPSEC (Operational Security) is something every active duty military member is familiar with. There are filters in military email servers to flag emails that may violate OPSEC, but nothing like what the article describes. As a microISV and a Sailor, I wouldn't dream of putting everything I post through any military channel. Bottom line: this is an unpractical regulation and it won't last long.

Re:This won't last long (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957035)

I bet the regulation will be there forever, more or less. From the sounds of it, it's up to the unit commanders to set the standards for their unit. There'll be some leeway to make sure every "stop at the PX and snag some milk" email doesn't have to be approved by on-high.

Re:This won't last long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957053)

Before you blast it, read the reg. It doesn't say every post has to be reviewed. It says it has to be approved. That means that hte company commander says "yes, you can blog" and spot checks it occasionaly to make sure the soldier isn't posting anything stupid. This is nothing new.

Re:This won't last long (3, Insightful)

Kazrath (822492) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957083)

My younger brother has been deployed in Afghanistan 2 times and is on deployment leave prior to his 3rd trip there. Initially when talking to him while he was deployed it was near impossible to hold a decent conversation. He took OPSEC seriously to the point he would not even tell me there was sand on the ground. At first I found it pretty annoying. But after thinking about it anything that allows him to come home safe is well worth the annoyance.

Re:This won't last long (1)

mrjohnson (538567) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957435)

Well, thank God I'm in the Marine Corps and it's diffeUYYWL!@#FF#@$VASFF@##GHJ
NO CARRIER

Damn straight! (4, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956921)

It won't be a popular opinion but all content in a war zone needs to be carefully filtered, while "we shot three arabs today" won't cause my trouble "we shot three arabs in Baghdad today" might do so. Hence anything going in or out in any form must be checked to see if it gives their operations away.

Soldiers are much like prisoners, they have some freedoms, but at the end of the day you're on someone else's time and in a place and they make all the rules, both good and bad. If you sign up (or get sent there) you play by the rules ment to keep everyone safe.

Re:Damn straight! (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957209)

Umm... I was thinking "shooting Arabs" would be the key part of your statement rather than location would cause more trouble for the military.

Seeing that it would make more hostilities towards the soldiers.

And not to nitpick, but Iraqis aren't Arabs. Unless of course you are talking about foreign fighters.

Re:Damn straight! (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957433)

"Not to nitpick," but a majority (about 3/4) of Iraqis are Arabs, actually.

They aren't Saudi Arabs.

Re:Damn straight! (3, Informative)

MrTester (860336) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957347)

I left service 3 years ago, so I cant speak to whats going on today, but there was a lot of discussion about this even back then.

It was actually as much about casualty reporting as it was about OpSec. Families were hearing that their loved one had been killed in a blog before the military could tell them.

In other cases a wife would find out her husband had been killed when a neighbor came by with their condolences.

Its also about the rumor mill on more "mundane" things: Soldier Bob tells his wife that his Sergeant is having an affair with another female soldier. The Soldier Bobs wife tells the Sergeants wife. The rumor may not be true, but a marriage is going to have a hard time surviving that when they are thousands of miles appart for 12 to 24 months.

Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957525)

Easy fix:
Do not allow women to divorce men.

If you disagree with that then you are an enemy of all men.

Censorship is normal ... (5, Informative)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956929)

for the military.

The original poster acts as though this is some new super-secret nefarious plot to keep secrets from the American public. The simple truth is that there has always been censorship of personal correspondence from war zones. This was true of WW2, Korea and, for all I know, of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. Nobody likes it, least of all the poor junior officers who have to censor letter after letter, but it's a basic military necessity.

It's the military, not the cub scouts. Get over it.

Re:Censorship is normal ... UCMJ (2, Informative)

WidescreenFreak (830043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957369)

A lot of Slashdotters apparently don't know or conveniently forget that there's this little thing called the Uniform Code of Military Justice [cornell.edu] that effectively says, "You are no longer granted all of the freedoms that are granted to non-military personnel under the U.S. Constitution." The ability to say whatever you want is one of those lost freedoms once you sign on the dotted line.

But, hey, if it gives people the excuse to start spouting their holier-than-thou dogma about censorship, let's just let them do it and get that frustration out of their systems, 'kay?

This just in:National Security requires just that (1, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956949)

A military organization functions well due to its tightly controlled command structure, like a hive of ants. Whether or not the military should be doing X or Y is irrelevant to the issue - the actions of everyone in the hive must be controlled and purposeful.

If you don't like it, pretend to be crazy, gay, or commit a crime, and get out. THEN write your book.

Re:This just in:National Security requires just th (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957105)

Armies which require their soldiers to behave like ants are at a considerable disadvantage against armies which expect their soldiers to behave like well-disciplined people. There's a difference.

SSDD (4, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956953)

And my father's letters home from Europe in WWII were stamped as approved by the official censor.

Military censorship of all troops' correspondence is not exactly new.

Re:SSDD (1)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957111)

Yes; I have to say I was wondering if the OP and Taco had never taken basic history courses in high school. As I recall it, in WWI, normally one's commanding offer would read the letters to ensure they contained nothing naughty, but an alternate colour of envelope was provided for those who preferred their news not be seen by anyone they knew on the battlefield (I.e., mushy love letters) and would be shunted straight to the normal censors at the other end of the mail system. TBH, I always thought that *not* doing this sort of thing would be rather assymetrical and negligent.

No big surprise (2, Insightful)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956969)

When I was in, back in the day, I'm willing to bet there were restrictions in place that could be applied to personal correspondence and telephone calls. Sounds like they're just updating the rules to keep up with the times. It's also not too surprising to me that the rules would be posted somewhere not everybody could read them, there'll be notes sent out to remind everybody about the new policy.

Freedom (4, Insightful)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956987)

When I was in the Army we were often told, "We're here to defend Democracy, not to practice it." OPSEC (OPerations SECurity) is vital to both mission success and protecting soldiers lives. I'm an complete nut when I comes to the first amendment, but combat soldiers absolutely DON'T (and shouldn't) have that right.

-Peter

Re:Freedom (1)

sabre86 (730704) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957421)

This isn't a "democracy" issue. It's a "freedom of speech/press" issue. And while I'm not sure what you mean by "I'm a complete not when I comes to the first amendment", but HOW EXACTLY do soldiers not have that right? Rights are inherent to human beings. (Remember how rights are "endowed by the Creator"?)

If the government actually obeys the First Amendment, there can be no law that punishes anyone, including soldiers, for excercising their freedom of speech. Constitutionally, the Government can't tell me what I can and cannot say, ever. This applies to "classified" information, operational security, etc. Admittedly, that's not how things have been interpreted by the courts, and they may even have valid reasons for it. But the clear interpretation of the Constitution and it's First Amendment is that laws limiting freedom of speech are prohibited.

Now, having said that, I agree that operations security is important. Soldiers should be careful about what they talk about, and should definitely be required to follow legal orders. And if they violate OpSec, they should definitely be removed from combat and/or fired -- they're government employees after all. It may even be reasonable to hold that in violating OpSec, they have criminally violated their orders, but I'm not sure. It seems to me that those orders would not be legal, as an officer is an agent of the Government and Congress, and any empowerment of the officer to limit his or her soldiers' freedom of speech would be a violation of the First Amendment, and thus not a legal order. But that does seem like a grey area.

In short, OpSec is important, and violating it should definitely have consequences -- firing, removal of benefits, KP duty, etc. But if the government really is limited by the Constitution, then it cannot criminalize anyone's freedom of speech, including soldiers. Admittedly, that's not how the Constitution is usually interpreted by the courts, but it should be. Limited government means the government plays by the clear rules.

--sabre86

Makes sense, doesn't it? (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#18956989)

Consider the average soldier. Don't get me wrong, I've served my time too, but let's be honest here, there are more than a few that don't think past the next meal. Can you see a blog entry like "bleagh, again another boring patrol down road $somewhere at 1130 tonight, can't they come up with something new"?

Loose lips and all that.

Of course this will be used to keep them from telling any news of events that don't run so lovely to keep the spirit on the "home front" up. I doubt, though, that this is the main concern. Those news get out, this way or another, because some of those soldiers will and do come home, and there ain't much that could keep them from talking.

First Amendment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18956999)

The members of the United States armed forces are out there fighting to protect our rights, such as the First Amendment that provides for free speech. Yet, they themselves are prohibited from enjoying that right?

Lots of info can be extracted from the blogs (2, Interesting)

BurningTyger (626316) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957007)

When I was still in elementary school in Taiwan back 15 years ago, I remember the Nationalist government still sent out propaganda booklet, even to school children, teaching people that "Protecting information from Communist spy is everyone's responsibility".

One of the story I remembered is as follows:

Mr. Smith was sent to battle, and he sent a letter once a week to Mrs. Smith to tell her that he's safe. Mrs. Smith's friend would always asked for the stamps on the letter because she was a stamp collector. It turned out that Mrs. Smith's friend was actually a spy, and was able to use the information from the postage stamp (it's usually stamped with the date & location that it's sent) to track Mr. Smith's troop and killed them.

The point of the story is, soldiers could have unknowingly leaked sensitive military information on the blog.

Follow the rules Soldier!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957019)

DO NOT post Panda p0rn!
No Exceptions!

tool for selective enforcement (5, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957059)

Despite the absolutist language, the guidelines' author, Major Ray Ceralde, said there is some leeway in enforcement of the rules. "It is not practical to check all communication, especially private communication," he noted in an e-mail. "Some units may require that soldiers register their blog with the unit for identification purposes with occasional spot checks after an initial review. Other units may require a review before every posting."

In other words, if we like you, say anything you want. If you don't, we're going to dig through every single thing you do when your hands touch a keyboard and find something to hang you with.

This is going to sound like standard old-soldeir grumbling, but ... the service is really a mess these days. When I was in (1989-1997, including service in Desert Storm) it was generally understood that one of the great strengths of the American military, as opposed to most other countries' militaries, was our the general American-ness of the way we talked with each other and with the civilian world. Soldiers (in the generic sense: soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines) were expected to bitch, quite loudly and often in public, when something wasn't working right. Because that's how things got fixed. Yeah, we were supposed to work through the chain of command, if possible, but everyone including the chain of command knew that wasn't always going to work. And this understanding, and the bitching that it allowed, was what led to constant improvement in tactics, weapons, logistics, and everything else that keeps an army fighting.

Now it seems like things are going more toward a Soviet model. Absolute obedience, top-down flow of information, shut up and do what you're told every single time; running the entire military like basic training. Well, guess what? Saddam Hussein's vaunted "fourth largest army in the world" was trained and equipped on Soviet lines, and we went through it like a hot knife through butter. Analysis after the end of the Cold War strongly suggests that if the balloon had ever gone up, the same thing would have happened on a grand scale in Europe. Authoritarian armies can win wars (Nazi Germany was just as authoritarian as the USSR, of course, but the German army was surprisingly flexible) but the cost is terrible -- as some German general is supposed to have remarked after the war, "We killed four of theirs for every one of ours they killed, but there was always a fifth Russian." Yeah, you can win wars like that, but (unless you're as bug-fuck insane as Stalin) you don't want to.

Also? Shit like Abu Ghraib flourishes in an atmosphere of secrecy. Now, I'm not going to claim with 100% certainty that there was no abuse of prisoners in Desert Storm; there probably was. I can say that, if it had been widespread and systematized as it clearly is in Iraq, as a medic I would probably have known it was going on. And I never saw anything like that. We took better care of Iraqi prisoners than their own army did, which is one reason so many of them were so quick to surrender. Keeping things open is the best way to ensure that everybody plays by the rules, and that in turn can reduce bitterness after the fighting is over and keep us from having to fight more wars in the future.

I look at those kids over there now, kids like I once was, and it seems to me they have more to fear from their own chain of command than they do from the enemy. That's fucked up.

Re:tool for selective enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957249)

This is an opsec document, not a censorship document. It's not significantly different then the last one. You still have to get permission to publish things; this one makes it obvious that posting on myspace is publishing to the world. It's up to the unit commander to determine what level of oversight is needed. This document clearly does not say "every blog post must be run past the censors." It does say that you must not give essential elements of information to whomever reads your blog.

Re:tool for selective enforcement (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957341)

...keep us from having to fight more wars in the future.

Yes, well, I wouldn't count on that. In case you haven't noticed, war is a very profitable business. And the US is in the war business. It's not about victory. They have stated outright that they are there to protect their interests. And those interests are purely economic.

Re:tool for selective enforcement (1)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957547)

It does sound like standard old-soldier grumbling, but I can't fault you for it.

I'll express it in Perl:

foreach (@foo) {
        print "The $foo has."
}

You name it, it has. Army, Air Force, The Corps (by which I mean the USMA Corps of Cadets, not those crazy leathernecks), etc.

If the public can't hear the troops celebrating what works - including what they're doing that works - and bitching about what doesn't, that's a problem. However, even under the tightest of OPSEC controls, there's still one recourse for bad equipment: break it, fix it, toss it, or bring your own. Our soldiers have been doing this since the beginning.

And thank you for your service.

Re:tool for selective enforcement (2, Informative)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957553)

"In other words, if we like you, say anything you want. If you don't, we're going to dig through every single thing you do when your hands touch a keyboard and find something to hang you with."

Wrong.

In other words, if you are a clerk at a desk in Illinois (for example) we won't require you to submit everything you blog about, and will only do spot checks, but if you are a special ops member involved in secret operations we will check everything you post on the internet.

Doesn't seem unfair to me. Note that it is based on what UNIT you are with, not who YOU specifically are.

Won't change anything (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957085)

This rule won't effectively change anything. It's just another way for the military to hammer people who have a bad attitude. On the rare occasion someone actually does deserve to get railroaded, it will have served its purpose, but it won't change anything in the long run. It will limit people from posting random shots of Sadaam Hussein hanging and shit like that, but for the most part it will be business as usual.

The UCMJ has a huge number of laws used to keep "discipline and order" within the military ranks that would be considered a bit extreme for "normal" society. (Adultery is often cited as a way to punish someone who can't be caught for other problem issues as is "conduct unbecoming".) This is just one more.

bad news for the soldiers (1)

zboy (685758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957103)

A friend of mine is finally on his way home after a tour in Afghanistan. He got a myspace account and started blogging almost immediately after he got there. He was usually able to make a post every few days or so, and often updated his profile with new pictures. This is a blog that ranged from collecting winter supplies and stuffed animals to hand out to children in the villages while they were on patrol (with pictures to show the conditions), to talking about how their convoy was hit by a roadside IED/RPG/etc. He more than once mentioned how much easier his blog made it to deal with PTSD, especially as word of mouth led to him getting literally thousands of readers, and also a 3-part interview with NPR. If it's something that makes the stress easier to deal with, making it overly restrictive, or nearly impossible to post will not help anyone.

whats the big deal? (1)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957121)

Soldiers are government property. GI stands for Government Issue.

They really don't have any normal 'human' rights, certainly not while on active duty.

Not that I care one way or another, but thats what the law is, in a nutshell.

Loose lips sink ships... (2, Informative)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957127)

In public debate, transparency and freedom of speech are paramount to maintaining the security of our liberties. Free speech is a crucial aspect of ensuring that a free society remains free.

But on the battlefield, the public debate has already ended. The security of society and its liberties is dependent upon the ability of military to do their job, and this requires that many things be kept secret from the enemy.

When I was in the military, all of us understood that an unrestricted flow of information to the public was a Bad Thing(TM). Speech has consequences, and updating the reg to include email and blogs is to be expected. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it took so long.

Most soldiers will tell you this is a matter of common sense. When I was in, we had only occasional access to email, and even then it was understood that we shouldn't put anything in an email which could be used against us or the Army.

Loose Lips Sink Ships (3, Funny)

drjoe1e6 (461358) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957145)

Restrictions on what soldiers can say during wartime are nothing new. "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships" was a WWII slogan the gov't created.

Wow... proper use of the word "loose" on slashdot!

Living Intentionally (1, Offtopic)

Some Pig! (103985) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957149)

After reading this I checked the blog Living Intentionally (www.findingmytelos.blogspot.com), a valued source of unedited opinion from a soldier serving in Iraq. Sure enough, gone.

That is a loss. He did not mince words about what he saw. Here is how he is quoted in Parapundit's blog:

What I object to is what the Iraq war has become, and the fact that great Americans are dying on a daily basis for people who do not appreciate or understand what we are doing. Make no mistake, many people from this culture know the words to use when talking with Westerners....words like freedom, democracy and human rights. When the Westerner leaves the room these words cease to have meaning. They do not speak this way with each other. They mutually recognize that using these words is part of the expected hussle. There is a Westernized elite who own the concepts and desire to live within the framework, but they have no power here, and their desire is to get a US visa as quickly as they can and move to Detroit.

There is nothing in this culture that gives it a framework to understand the notion of consensual government for the common good, outside one's self, kinship or tribal structure. This truth works itself out in this culture in a way that is very masochistic to Western eyes.

Any individual, minimal cooperation we receive is due to perceived self-interest. It's not about appealing to a higher good, or humanitarianism, or sense of wider duty. It's about finding where your interests coincide with the individual, at that moment in time. Creativity in shameless dissembling, if resulting in benefit to one's self, is respected and admired.

I've heard it said that the desire for freedom beats in the heart of every person. This is probably true. But the desire for freedom for one's neighbor, independent of one's own self-interest, does not, and this is the true test, which the Iraqi people have failed.

I worry that we are shedding the blood of America's best on a mistaken assumption about the latter.

Why do they need to blog... (3, Funny)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957159)

or write letters to people? Fox and all their friends are there to tell everyone how well things are going. There soldiers are not qualified to be tellers of things. Too much for the public to misinterpret. If a soldier has a bad day and tells his family about it, why, they could think the whole thing is going badly. Remember, free speech only works when it is approved through proper channels. PS: I assume that any serviceman/woman would know enough not to put operational stuff in a private blog or e-mail.

Mandatory censoring? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957167)

Under the strictest reading of the rule, a soldier must check with his or her superior officer before every blog entry posted and every email sent, though the method of enforcing these regulations is subject to choices made by the unit commanders.
Dear Mary,

I yearn for you tragically.

A.T. Tappman
Chaplain, US Army

Lieutenant Dan! (1)

EntropyXP (956792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957175)

Dear Momma,

We're here in Falujah and are planning a secret attack on the insurgents tomorrow. They don't know it, but we're going to hit them at 6:30 in the morning while they are praying. Tee hee. I hope they don't see us coming from the south! Well, Lieutenant Dan is coming so I better log off. See you soon.

Love, Forest.

if your gonna manipulate the press, control leaks (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957191)

someone is up against the ropes and to help control the 'hit count' better, controlling how information gets out to the public is a must. After all, lying to the public and then having information from the soldiers contradicting those lies makes one look like a fool.

LoB

the work of PSYOPS? (1)

flipmack (886723) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957223)

I didn't RTFA, but just to repeat what everyone said, it's all about OPSEC.

Coming from the Army Reserve world and working for a major DoD Contractor now, anything we post online and made available to the interweb can be intercepted as some form of intelligence for the [insert enemy here]. Of course, there are also folks in the military (Psychological Operations - PSYOPS) whose daily lives revolve around propaganda and basically, guerrila marketing so that the [insert enemy here] or the folks most likely to be influenced by the [insert enemy here] believe that [insert good guys here] are the good guys.

So, maybe this is just another ploy?

Who is the enemy nowadays anyway? Terrorists? Global Warming? "Rich White Kids"? votefortheworst.com?

yep. yes I did. I went there.

maybe we just need an Iraqi Minister of Intelligence telling us that there's nothing to see here?

So this means... (1)

jennies_boy (1095713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957225)

My Aunt is married to someone in the Armed forces. She is living in the states right now but not to recently she got back from Germany. She has a myspace account and she post things about her husband all the time. So what you are saying is that she cannot post these without the approval of a military superior right? Can she get in trouble for anything that she posts in her blog even though she isn't inlisted but her husband is? This is sort of confusing to me.

-ep!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957239)

to any BSD 4roject, to any BSD project,

Common Sense. (4, Insightful)

rayvd (155635) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957271)

This is not some big conspiracy theory as I'm sure many people here will immediately cry out about.

Far too easy to give away something that could compromise the security of a unit or a mission -- even if unintentionally. Taking this sort of precaution just makes common sense. The military is likely far more concerned with this type of a scenario than some soldier giving away some horrible conspiracy that everyone in the military is in on (in most part because these types of things would be impossible to hide and if they do come out are fringe exceptions rather than the rule). Most of the blogs out there from troops are of a personal nature or in fact shed light on the fact that things are really not going as badly as is portrayed in our media here.

However, as someone else mentioned, it's probably not going to be too realistic to enforce in the long run.

Well, they have no "rights" (1)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957279)

Joining up,even if drafted, they lose a lot of basic freedoms including free speech. I could understand if their C.O.'s didn't want a blog post accidentally revealing the location of a group of soldiers somewhere but most of this is probably done so nothing "bad" is said about whats happening over there or our current administration.

Let's not forget, this comes from the same people that didn't allow the footage of how many and when coffins/caskets were being brought home from Iraq to American soil. When you have to cover up how many are dying in the war you are "winning" then a few censored blogs isn't that far a stretch.

The Republicans hate us for our freedom (2, Funny)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957281)

Seriously, how far will the Bush administration go down the road of trashing basic American values? Did they sleep through civics class?

I have some very conservative friends who are so embarrassed by what "their guy" is doing that I have stopped talking about politics with them - no need to rub their noses in it. BTW, I voted for Bush in 2000 - I made a bad mistake, but I am willing to admit it.

My wife and I watched Bush on TV yesterday. It seems to me that he plain outright lied about the appropriations bill that he vetoed. He kept nattering on about the bill not funding the troups while in fact the bill in some cases provided more funds than he asked for (e.g., veteran's benefits).

Bush is so much worse than Nixon. Can he really believe that his actions our good for our country? (And the world?)

Bush is so bad he even makes the Democrats look pretty good.

Oh Darn... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957287)

I feel so sorry for all of those that are stupid enough to enlist in the first place.

FUD at its finest... (2, Informative)

pointbeing (701902) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957295)

Shame on you, Wired.

Civilians cannot be prosecuted for violating Army regulations - period. Saying the reg applies to contractors and family members is one of the best examples of journalistic disingenuousness I've seen in quite some time.

The Army can take action against a contractor up to and including cancelling the contract but they cannot take any action against an individual contract employee except to escort that employee off the installation and have him prosecuted by an agency that *does* have law enforcement capability - they also can't prevent family members from doing anything but can impose administrative sanctions against the family member. The Army has no law enforcement power against American civilians.

Simply put a civilian cannot be prosecuted for violating AR 530-1. There are other laws that *do* apply to civilians, but this ain't one of them.

Moountains and molehills... (1)

macthulhu (603399) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957305)

An OPSEC review is different than making sure no "bad news" leaks out. There are more details than those of upcoming operations that are useful to the enemy... Suppose somebody innocently mentions where he's based in one post, then mentions that he eats lunch with a bunch of officers every day in another, and then posts a picture of himself eating at his preferred table in a third post... Spending an hour skimming a blog could provide interesting details and target opportunities to a mortar team, and they don't even have to be that smart to put all the info together. Or suppose that somebody mentions how his drinking buddy happens to be the guy in charge of the Stryker motor pool... A guerilla force with the internet skills of the average lovelorn teenager can Google names and look for them on MySpace, then start to develop a roster of people, places, and duties that would be incredibly useful for disrupting base operations. I've read plenty of milblogs that have passed the OPSEC inspection that were critical of the administration and command decisions, so I don't think they're filtering opinions, just operational details. I sat down and read Colby Buzzel's book My War in a couple of days. He writes about the entire process of going from unknown blogger to known potential security risk. Even after discovery, though they hassled him a bit, the military put very few real restrictions on him. As fashionable as it is to demonize the administration and Pentagon these days, this is really a non-story. Considering how popular camcorders, computers, digital cameras, and various audio recorders are among the troops... there won't be too many things that aren't exposed in time anyway.

OpSec (1)

KoldKompress (1034414) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957311)

Secrecy can't be compromised. Haven't you people even seen "The Unit"?!

Doonesbury act (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957313)

One wonders if the publicity caused by the major strip willingness to publish soldiers story [typepad.com] had something to do with this. The other reason is to protect soldiers from themselves. Some young people have a need to gain attention by publishing even detail of thier lives, such as bondage photos torturing a prisoner.

Significant timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957323)

Firstly, on topic, may I say it's always seemed odd to me that servicemen in a conflict zone are allowed to blog or use plaintext emails. It's a wide open security risk. Much as I disagree with this dumb war of agression, a soldier should give up certain rights when they sign up in order to protect themselves and other people serving along side them. So why has it not mattered until now?

Well, I'm glad this war is over. And it is effectvely over. We are rather distracted by "silly season" stories like 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0, but in the real world there are two very significant events going on.

(1) There's a real groundswell happening for impeachment, regardless of how much the media puppets try to bury it, it's happening now.
(2) Bush just vetoed the withdrawal motion. He just shot himself in the head.

To see what this means study Vietnam, Korea, Afganistan (for the Soviets), study the closing year of WW2 or any situation where the occupiers are locked in a war of attrition against a determined resistance. The resistance fighters wait, they hold back and hit from time to time, but never all out. They wait until the time is right when the occupiers are worn down and tired, but most importantly they wait until domestic opposition is strong. In an unjust war the fifth column is the most important ally that the overwhelmed and occupied country has.

Now the war has little support from the people of Europe and the USA, those who still support it are in a tiny deluded minority. With impeachment in the air Bush is digging himself into a trench for the last stand and I think it's about to escalate into something truly nasty. I would not be surprised to see US and Iraqi casualties go through the roof this summer. That is what they don't want us to see or hear about. Expect some serious lockdown of the media as we move into the Iraq endgame.

Essential censorship (1)

meburke (736645) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957333)

Soldiers have always been restricted from including certain information in their correspondence and communications. Mail has always been subject to censorship. Censors were looking for any info that could identify the soldier's mission, unit, deployment and capability. Radio communication has been monitored for strict adherence to communication security. In fact, the Army Security Agency (ASA, know affectionately as "buddy fuckers"), continuously monitors radio communications and compiles statistics about the possible deleterious effects of accumulated breaches.

It makes sense that the newer methods of communications would need monitoring for the same reasons. It is not possible to depend on the individual soldier to be discrete. Case in point: In 1967 I was a volunteer MARS operator in Nha Trang, Vietnam. During the Jewish High Holidays we were bringing in troops from the field, and some of them would come to the MARS station to make "phone patches" to the States. Amateur Radio operators like Barry Goldwater and others would take our radio connection and "patch" into the phone line for a collect call to the soldiers' desired connection. Strict rules were: No Last names, no units, no locations, no military references whatsoever. Even the soldiers had trouble remembering to say "over" in order to allow the other party to respond. One conversation, typical of the type, went like this:

Soldier: "Hi, Mom." (pause) "Over."

Mom: "Hi, Josh." (pause) "Over."

Soldier: "It's good to hear your voice. Over"

Mom: "It's good to hear you, too. Where are you? Over"

Soldier: "I'm ..." (MARS operator cuts connection and warns soldier that he CANNOT tell her where he is! MARS operator crosses room to flip a switch.)

Mom: I didn't hear you. Over."

Soldier: "I said I'm in Nha Trang for the High Holidays. Over."

(At which time the call is terminated by the MARS operator (who rushes back to the set too late to cut off the restricted info), the Ham operator in the States, and the ASA issues a gig to the MARS operator for not controlling the communications.)

Really, how many times can you tell someone that this info is damaging to the mission?

I have no doubt that there are Intelligence operators from many countries sifting through the internet looking for information on the training, capabilities and especially weaknesses (remember the "too light" armor on the HumVees?) of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No limit soldiers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18957399)

This is not like a license agreement on software. These are the rules under which you agree to act when you volunteer to become a soldier. Just because the technology has changed doesn't mean the underlying concerns have changed. In the 40s, your wartime communication home was sometimes passed through a censor who would retract out parts, with a blade. Today, it's a lot easier to get communication home through technology than sitting down with pen and paper - I know as a decent typist, I won't even bother writing out an address on an envelope if I'm at home with my printer. The fact that this communication is easier combined with the fact that soldiers are (as they always have been) somewhat careless with the information they give out and most critically combined with the fact that some communication home is inherently far more public than the standard "letter home" means that information security is a a considerably different, and much more specialized task than it was in the days with a censor's office with a room full of people with black ink and razor blades.

Most of these soldiers are young, and many are eager, and often aren't allowed or capable of seeing the bigger picture. As a six year veteran and a free speech purist, I understand the issue from both sides. For me, though, whether or not this is an obstacle to free speech is secondary to the point that these are rules you voluntarily agree to when you enlist.

If this was an issue of trying to punish soldiers for speaking out against a war, I'd have a lot more sympathy with the soldiers. But wartime operations really do entail some careful security considerations. Our intelligence services have often been criticized for not being interested enough in information which wasn't secret. Generally speaking, our enemies in guerrilla-style ground operations have no reservations in making use of information that's freely out there, and it doesn't get any more free or "out there" than a guy with a blog.

This is a case of the Myspace generation failing to understand that everyone on the internet isn't just using it for social purposes. A friend and I once made a month-long project to figure out how much information we could find out on one particular person with a public website, within the limits of the law, as an illustration of the difference in mindset between the more security-conscious paranoid types common in the 80s BBS scene versus the people who were coming up in the age where having your personal information and photographs and writing as public as possible was becoming the norm. We didn't end up publishing what we came up with (it would have been a gross violation of privacy), but it was highly educational, and a more than a little troubling.

The kid responsible for inadvertently putting so much of his personal life on the web, through a myriad of pages, comments, posts, etc. is probably old enough to be in the military right now. It puts things into perspective for me.

An insider's perspective (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957409)

As an officer currently serving, I can tell you that these rules are very rarely, if ever, enforced. Many Soldiers see this is as more of a legal catchall - similar in principle to the "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman" charge that can be leveled against an officer for just about anything, but is only used in practice when an officer does something that is obviously against the spirit of the law/UCMJ, but not the letter. The 1st Amendment / free speech angle doesn't really apply here, since all Soldiers are volunteers, and thus voluntarily signed some of their freedoms away when they joined up. I realize that may sound draconian and less than ideal to some of you, but that is the reality of the situation w/rt military discipline. As one of my old instructors once told me, "We're here to preserve democracy, not practice it."

There's OPSEC awareness and there's overkill (1)

mvea (158406) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957427)

Various rules of that sort have existed for a long time. I recall while I was there in 2005, there was a big push for to make every soldier reveal if they had a blog or personal website. Evidently, somebody had been posting more detailed accounts of the action as it happened on his blog than he was recording in the official duty log. So there are obvious cases where, yes, this is a problem. But before discounting the average discussion forum as immaterial to foreign intelligence, you never really know who is reading your site. Our site had a fellow who began posting insurgent propaganda (our filters worked) which served as a wake-up to us that our own news/discussions had garnered attention we weren't aware of. But we made our own users aware of it with an OPSEC Awareness [omninerd.com] post to serve as a reminder.

There are plenty of good reasons for this (2, Informative)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957509)

For example: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=233075&cid =18951775 [slashdot.org] any blog post or comment could contain sensitive information. This is never good while troops are in harms way. While it might seem somewhat draconian, this is one of those times when it is likely to be a matter of life and death to one or more people. Loose lips sink ships and all that.

On the other hand, it does inhibit forms of free speech. Its always hard to strike a moral balance in such cases when life and death are in the balance. In the past all mail was filtered and censored during times of war. This is nothing really new as far as I can tell.

Now sure what is so new about this (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18957565)

It has always been this way, of course they may have specifically defined blogging but communications security
is nothing new in the military that includes all branches.
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