May 14, 2007
The Defense Department's decision to prevent soldiers in the field from using military computers to access several popular social networking and media Web sites raises serious concerns. Although one of the justifications offered for blocking the sites -- that they were eating up mission-critical bandwidth -- seems legitimate, the Defense "solution" to that challenge seems both overreaching and arbitrary. Social networking, photo and video sites have become a powerful means for soldiers in the field to communicate with their families, share their experiences of war and receive messages of hope and support from home. Moreover, the United States has an obligation to exemplify the values of freedom and openness it is seeking to defend globally. CDT urges the Defense Department to reexamine its decision and to seek a solution that maximizes soldiers' abilities to benefit from these tools, while still respecting the needs of security and readiness.