The Pentagon Invades Farmville

Published: March 2nd 2010

The Pentagon

Washington - Everyone from combat troops in the field to the highest ranking personal and civilian leaders will be allowed to tweet, blog and use Facebook on military's non classified computers.


The US armed forces are connecting to Twitter, Facebook and other web 2.0 social networks that are based on users' content. The Defense Department had announced on Friday a new policy, which authorizes the use of social networks from military computers that aren't connected to the army's intra-secured network. The Pentagon officials behind the announcement, also claimed the new policy will allow to quickly share information and data and will increase the cooperation among the different armed forces.


The new policy comes after a seven-month long review, in which the Defense Department looked over the threats and benefits of allowing the use of these Internet services. The new directive practically seeks to manage the risks while recognizing the Internet is a powerful tool for a great number of tasks such as recruiting, cooperation with a wide range of people, communication between soldiers and their families and even, yes, public relations, which are in need these days.


Nevertheless, the announcement protruded the importance of data protection. The new policy gives commanders the right to cut off access to the web for a specified time only, in order to guard security and the integrity of military operations. The policy also standardizes all the previous web related commands across the entire department. Workers of the Defense Department and the army, still are prohibited to visit certain sites such as gambling, pornography and hatred sites on military computers.


Up to this point, the official policy of the Defense Department was not to allow access to social networks and other services, in order to prevent the leakage of classified data. Moreover, access to YouTube, MySpace and more than a dozen other sites was blocked due to bandwidth usage and now will be allowed to use once again. David M. Wennergren, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for information technology, says the Pentagon can no longer treat social networks as a safety threat only and the new policy recognizes the need to be both "responsible and use these tools to help get the job done".


Makes you wonder whether the guys at the Defense Department ever took into consideration the implications on the soldiers' personal time usage and priorities.

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