Are YouTube and MySpace a security risk? According to the US Defense Department if you are in the US military and accessing them from military-run network they are. The Defense Department is now blocking access to YouTube, MySpace, and nearly a dozen other websites from computers on its network calling them a "significant operational security challenge”.
According to an operational security guidelines (OPSEC) memo issued last week by General B B Bell the move is meant to reduce drag on the department's networks and protect information. Sites banned include: Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos and FileCabi, BlackPlanet, Hi5, Pandora, MTV, 1.fm, live365, and Photobucket.
I'm not surprised. It's really been astonishing that the military has allowed soldiers to have such freewheeling access, especially uploading video to YouTube. But I am surprised that some of their concerns that appear to extend to the media.
For more behind the scenes insight into how the military views bloggers and even the media check the Army's operational security guidelines as outlined in the slideshow "OPSEC in the Blogosphere". I ran across this gem earlier this month at Wired's "Danger Room" blog. Noah Shachtman found the Army's new operational security guidelines as a slideshow.
A slide from the OPSEC document ranks "Categories of Threat" and under "traditional domestic threats" is the media right alongside hackers, militia groups, and drug cartels.
Under the heading "Concerns & Issues" the document states: "Providing information which enhances the enemy's targeting process”. It adds that posting "sensitive" photos and information may be "therapeutic, they are also a snap-shot in time and the whole world is reading”.