So the U.S. Military has banned the use of military computers to access and use several sites. The sites covered by the ban are the video-sharing sites YouTube, Metacafe, IFilm, StupidVideos and FileCabi; social networking sites MySpace, BlackPlanet and Hi5; music sites Pandora, MTV, 1.fm and live365, and the photo-sharing site Photobucket. They cite bandwidth and security issues.
Lord knows those are both serious concerns but the ban, which in part is meant to stanch the flow of potentailly sensitive information to the enemy who could--let's face it--read it on the public Internet-- could prevent the flow of potentially positive information that the American people and our allies need. That's the law of unintended consequences.
The thing is...it has been written that the first casualty in war is truth. That's because all wars--hot ones and cold ones--are also information wars.
Those information battles are fought with, among other weapons, propaganda, mainstream media, military funded information sources and now, the myriad tools and channels on the Internet. With those tools--including the sites now being banned--being so pervasive, individual soldiers can now be weapons in the information war. Some of best and most compelling information sources are created and compiled by current and former troops, such as Black Five.
Yes there are legitimate security and bandwidth concerns, but there are also tremedous opportunities to use these channels in the overall war efforts. Let's hope the miliary commanders are exploting these weapons to their fullest advantage.
Fight the information war with MORE information, not less.