Though it is common for the government to watch the network and internet activity of its employees like a hawk, simply out of safety, the U.S. Air Force’s latest measure seems a bit unreasonable — Air Force employees are no longer allowed to access many blogs or sites that have “blog” in the title, no questions asked.
This comes from Wired, who reports that the reason the Air Force will be blocking access to sites that have blogs in the title or contain material considered to be typical of a blog is two-fold: First, the Air Force has to monitor all outgoing activity from employees to ensure that no secrets or classified material make a way to the internet.
Second, the Air Force does not deem blogs to be mainstream media, and as such, should not be read on the job.
Wired writer Noah Schactman aptly points out that the Air Force’s attempt to block unconventional media outlets doesn’t exclude ESPN, Fox or the other large media outlets that most likely clog the internet channels of the government on a day to day basis. What really constitutes that which should be blocked during work hours?
If you were thinking perhaps that Youtube or other sites like that should come first on the blocked list, the Air Force is one step ahead of you – the powers that be consider Youtube a threat as well; troops could easily divulge sensitive information in a fit of vlogging hysteria, right?
The result is that many popular blogs, and certainly websites with “blog” in the URL, are to be blocked from access. Back to the old email and snail mail for those troops who kept friends and relatives up to date through blogs, eh?
Another problem is that the Air Force is struggling to prove its usefulness in this current “war on terror.” Many veterans and supporters openly praised and promoted the Air Force on blogs worldwide, but there is no telling how much fallout there will be due to this decision.