Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Your Rights Online

Soldiers Can't Blog Without Approval 358

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the how-else-will-we-know-what-they-ate-for-lunch dept.
denebian devil writes "Wired.com has obtained a copy of updated US Army rules (pdf) that force soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages without first clearing the content with a superior officer. Previous editions of the rules asked Army personnel to "consult with their immediate supervisor" before posting a document "that might contain sensitive and/or critical information in a public forum." The new version, in contrast, requires "an OPSEC review prior to publishing" anything — from "web log (blog) postings" to comments on internet message boards, from resumes to letters home. Under the strictest reading of the rule, a soldier must check with his or her superior officer before every blog entry posted and every email sent, though the method of enforcing these regulations is subject to choices made by the unit commanders. According to Wired, active-duty troops aren't the only ones affected by the new guidelines. Civilians working for the military, Army contractors — even soldiers' families — are all subject to the directive as well, though many of the people affected by these new regulations can't even access them because they are being kept on the military's restricted Army Knowledge Online intranet. Wired also interviewed Major Ray Ceralde, author of the new regulations, about why this change has been made."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Soldiers Can't Blog Without Approval

Comments Filter:
  • Absolutely Necessary (Score:5, Informative)

    by geoffrobinson (109879) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:47AM (#18956785) Homepage
    To Whom it May Concern:

    Today we are going to be traveling along road X and going to destination Y around noon. Boy, it is going to be hot. While there, we are going to be picking up an informant. He would be in big trouble if he is found out.
    • by Ryan Amos (16972)
      Is that the military version of the "My mood: Suicidal" tag on emospace?
      • by Chmcginn (201645)
        Yes, but it's more analogous to suicide by cop using a real gun - it will probably lead to more than just the offender getting killed.
    • by RingDev (879105)
      Unfortunately this will actually wind up to be a DRM like solution: It will annoy those who follow the rules, and those who don't want to follow the rules will circumvent it easily enough. If you (as a soldier) wanted to release information to the public and/or the enemy, this rule will not stop you. If anything it would be the enforcement of this rule that could stop you except that as TFA says, no commander has the kind of time this rule would require to enforce, and over time the rule will become ignored
      • Unfortunately this will actually wind up to be a DRM like solution: It will annoy those who follow the rules, and those who don't want to follow the rules will circumvent it easily enough. If you (as a soldier) wanted to release information to the public and/or the enemy, this rule will not stop you.

        This is an area where stopping the casual, incidental leaks is important. 10 innocuous blog posts from 10 different soldiers may individually give you zero useful information, but if you add them up, you have l
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)
      To: Elaine Dickinson
      From: Ted Striker
      Subject: Re: Let's get seafood

      Elaine Dickinson wrote:

      Ted Striker wrote:

      My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar.
      When will you be back?
      I can't tell you that. It's classified.

      Love, Ted.
    • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:07PM (#18958001) Homepage

      To Whom it May Concern:

      Today we are going to be traveling along road X and going to destination Y around noon. Boy, it is going to be hot. While there, we are going to be picking up an informant. He would be in big trouble if he is found out.


      No, that's not the reason for this.

      The reason for this is that the Administration is painting a picture of poor abused soldiers being robbed blind by the evil, evil Democrats who want to steal their money and make them stay there without any armor or weapons or food. And these poor, poor soldiers love Iraq and the mission sooooo much that they just never, ever wanna go home. Ever!

      Of course, the reality is that these soldiers and national guardsmen are pretty much sick and tired of being there, know just as well as anyone else that the whole affair is a lost cause, and frankly want to go home. NOW. Or rather, months and months ago when their tours SHOULD have been up, but were not due to shady probably-illegal-definately-immoral "stop loss" tricks to keep them there.

      You can't have a misinformation or propaganda campaign starring soldiers if you let the soldiers actually talk. See: Tillman, Pat (and coworkers) or Lynch, Jessica. No, you have to silence them all, save a select few you can bully or bribe into towing administration line.

      Simply put, this is a measure to shut the soldiers and their families up and keep their true feelings from coming to light, so the Administration can continue to lie about them. Nothing more.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    AKO is not restricted, neither is it an intranet. It's the Army's main web portal and e-mail site for Service Members (and DA civilians.) Everyone in the Army (and National Guard and Reserves) is required to get an account.

    I would expect better fact checking, but then I remembered this slashdot.
  • rules not able to read them is part of plan to get rid of people they don't like by saying that you broke a rules that is restricted to you and I can't say anything more about it.
  • This is needed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cyberglich (525256) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:53AM (#18956893)
    Its just like a NDA for a major corporation. But the stakes are life and death. If the censorships is being abused is one thing but that fact that it exists is to be expected.
  • This won't last long (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jere_Jones (1095681) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:53AM (#18956897) Homepage
    First off, I'm not in the Army. I am, however, in the Navy and there have always been regulations about what can and cannot be shared with the public. OPSEC (Operational Security) is something every active duty military member is familiar with. There are filters in military email servers to flag emails that may violate OPSEC, but nothing like what the article describes. As a microISV and a Sailor, I wouldn't dream of putting everything I post through any military channel. Bottom line: this is an unpractical regulation and it won't last long.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by faloi (738831)
      I bet the regulation will be there forever, more or less. From the sounds of it, it's up to the unit commanders to set the standards for their unit. There'll be some leeway to make sure every "stop at the PX and snag some milk" email doesn't have to be approved by on-high.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kazrath (822492)
      My younger brother has been deployed in Afghanistan 2 times and is on deployment leave prior to his 3rd trip there. Initially when talking to him while he was deployed it was near impossible to hold a decent conversation. He took OPSEC seriously to the point he would not even tell me there was sand on the ground. At first I found it pretty annoying. But after thinking about it anything that allows him to come home safe is well worth the annoyance.
    • by mrjohnson (538567)
      Well, thank God I'm in the Marine Corps and it's diffeUYYWL!@#FF#@$VASFF@##GHJ
      NO CARRIER
    • by Himring (646324)
      this is an unpractical regulation and it won't last long.

      unpossible!!!

    • by Himring (646324)
      I question this poster. This is the first ever post from this user (Jere_Jones). Nothing wrong with that, but couple that with what he says and I question whether this person is who he says he is. The basic premise of military security is confidentiality. It is over-arching and overriding, especially during a conflict. No one has to even think about this fact, nor does it surprise just about all of the rest of the posters in this thread. It seems only to have surprised the news blurb author, /. admin
  • Damn straight! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:55AM (#18956921) Journal
    It won't be a popular opinion but all content in a war zone needs to be carefully filtered, while "we shot three arabs today" won't cause my trouble "we shot three arabs in Baghdad today" might do so. Hence anything going in or out in any form must be checked to see if it gives their operations away.

    Soldiers are much like prisoners, they have some freedoms, but at the end of the day you're on someone else's time and in a place and they make all the rules, both good and bad. If you sign up (or get sent there) you play by the rules ment to keep everyone safe.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      Umm... I was thinking "shooting Arabs" would be the key part of your statement rather than location would cause more trouble for the military.

      Seeing that it would make more hostilities towards the soldiers.

      And not to nitpick, but Iraqis aren't Arabs. Unless of course you are talking about foreign fighters.
      • "Not to nitpick," but a majority (about 3/4) of Iraqis are Arabs, actually.

        They aren't Saudi Arabs.
    • Re:Damn straight! (Score:4, Informative)

      by MrTester (860336) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:23AM (#18957347)
      I left service 3 years ago, so I cant speak to whats going on today, but there was a lot of discussion about this even back then.

      It was actually as much about casualty reporting as it was about OpSec. Families were hearing that their loved one had been killed in a blog before the military could tell them.

      In other cases a wife would find out her husband had been killed when a neighbor came by with their condolences.

      Its also about the rumor mill on more "mundane" things: Soldier Bob tells his wife that his Sergeant is having an affair with another female soldier. The Soldier Bobs wife tells the Sergeants wife. The rumor may not be true, but a marriage is going to have a hard time surviving that when they are thousands of miles appart for 12 to 24 months.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rodness (168429) *
      Exactly. A good example of why this is a problem:

      Sgt. Joe sends his weekly email home to his family. The email includes a link to a National Geographic picture of the Bay of Yemen, and his email says "This is where Daddy is going to be next week."

      A week later, the USS Cole gets bombed.*

      This impacts (and endangers) not only Sgt. Joe, but everyone else on board that vessel, potentially even everyone deployed to the Bay of Yemen.

      The danger here isn't so much that soldiers are going to intentionally give away
      • The problem is probably Sgt Joe's 12 year old son, who regularly chats online with some cute girl called Rebecca3456 from Piddlidoydunk Idaho.

        Just to prove that schoolgirls online aren't always FBI agents, in this case she's Abdul El Abullah bin Abdul, a dedicated member of Al-Qaeda.
  • by Syncerus (213609) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:55AM (#18956929)
    for the military.

    The original poster acts as though this is some new super-secret nefarious plot to keep secrets from the American public. The simple truth is that there has always been censorship of personal correspondence from war zones. This was true of WW2, Korea and, for all I know, of the Civil and Revolutionary Wars. Nobody likes it, least of all the poor junior officers who have to censor letter after letter, but it's a basic military necessity.

    It's the military, not the cub scouts. Get over it.
    • A lot of Slashdotters apparently don't know or conveniently forget that there's this little thing called the Uniform Code of Military Justice [cornell.edu] that effectively says, "You are no longer granted all of the freedoms that are granted to non-military personnel under the U.S. Constitution." The ability to say whatever you want is one of those lost freedoms once you sign on the dotted line.

      But, hey, if it gives people the excuse to start spouting their holier-than-thou dogma about censorship, let's just let the
      • A lot of Slashdotters apparently don't know or conveniently forget that there's this little thing called the Uniform Code of Military Justice that effectively says, "You are no longer granted all of the freedoms that are granted to non-military personnel under the U.S. Constitution." The ability to say whatever you want is one of those lost freedoms once you sign on the dotted line.

        I'd say that is rather orthogonal to the issue at hand.

        But, hey, if it gives people the excuse to start spouting their holier-than-thou dogma about censorship, let's just let them do it and get that frustration out of their systems, 'kay?

        Can we agree that creating military rules and using them to discourage military personal from providing unclassified information to other Americans and to discourage them from espousing political opinions that are are disliked by the incumbent political party is unethical, detrimental to the US, and thoroughly opposed to the American ideal of free speech?

        This regulation is obviously unenforcable in general. The military does not have the manpower

        • Did you even RTFA? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:31PM (#18958361) Homepage Journal
          Can we agree that creating military rules and using them to discourage military personal from providing unclassified information to other Americans and to discourage them from espousing political opinions that are are disliked by the incumbent political party is unethical, detrimental to the US, and thoroughly opposed to the American ideal of free speech?

          No! You cannot apply the freedoms to the military that you do to the general public. Period. They're in a different league all together. The fact that you can't see that is very disconcerting.

          And - damn it! - get rid of the damned Slashdot template of trying to turn this into a political issue by bringing "incumbent party" into it! I read TFA and there is NOTHING in there about politics, so stop trying to inject your own! This is absolutely nothing new and is not uncommon during a time of war.

          From TFA:

          The U.S. military -- all militaries -- have long been concerned about their personnel inadvertently letting sensitive information out. Troops' mail was read and censored throughout World War II; back home, government posters warned citizens "careless talk kills."
          If fact, if you had bothered to read TFA, which you obviously did not, the one blogger that they specifcally mentioned is a "pro-victory" blogger, hardly someone who goes against the current administration. Having read a bit of his blog, it is clear to me that he supports the idea of victory in Iraq, which IS the view of the political party that is in the White House! So, if anything this article demonstrates how this action goes against the views that are supported by the incumbent, political party! So, your little quip attempting to place blame on discouraging "them from espousing political opinions that are are disliked by the incumbent political party" is just an attempt for you to throw politics into this.

          Keep your baseless attempts to make everything political out of Slashdot and move them over to Digg where they belong.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by monomania (595068)
      "...there has always been censorship of personal correspondence from war zones..."

      Yes, and what makes this newsworthy is, this has nothing in particular to do with war zones or war-zone operations, or personal correspondence per se. This has to do with overall OPSEC, as the document states (you should read it), as regards any public, written communication by anyone in the Army, at any time, or by civilians who work for the DOD, or by people who work for companies that do business with the Army. Anywhere. At

  • SSDD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot (39700) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:56AM (#18956953)
    And my father's letters home from Europe in WWII were stamped as approved by the official censor.

    Military censorship of all troops' correspondence is not exactly new.

  • No big surprise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by faloi (738831) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:57AM (#18956969)
    When I was in, back in the day, I'm willing to bet there were restrictions in place that could be applied to personal correspondence and telephone calls. Sounds like they're just updating the rules to keep up with the times. It's also not too surprising to me that the rules would be posted somewhere not everybody could read them, there'll be notes sent out to remind everybody about the new policy.
  • Freedom (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pete-classic (75983) <hutnick@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:59AM (#18956987) Homepage Journal
    When I was in the Army we were often told, "We're here to defend Democracy, not to practice it." OPSEC (OPerations SECurity) is vital to both mission success and protecting soldiers lives. I'm an complete nut when I comes to the first amendment, but combat soldiers absolutely DON'T (and shouldn't) have that right.

    -Peter
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @10:59AM (#18956989)
    Consider the average soldier. Don't get me wrong, I've served my time too, but let's be honest here, there are more than a few that don't think past the next meal. Can you see a blog entry like "bleagh, again another boring patrol down road $somewhere at 1130 tonight, can't they come up with something new"?

    Loose lips and all that.

    Of course this will be used to keep them from telling any news of events that don't run so lovely to keep the spirit on the "home front" up. I doubt, though, that this is the main concern. Those news get out, this way or another, because some of those soldiers will and do come home, and there ain't much that could keep them from talking.
  • When I was still in elementary school in Taiwan back 15 years ago, I remember the Nationalist government still sent out propaganda booklet, even to school children, teaching people that "Protecting information from Communist spy is everyone's responsibility".

    One of the story I remembered is as follows:

    Mr. Smith was sent to battle, and he sent a letter once a week to Mrs. Smith to tell her that he's safe. Mrs. Smith's friend would always asked for the stamps on the letter because she was a stamp collector. I
  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:05AM (#18957059) Homepage Journal
    Despite the absolutist language, the guidelines' author, Major Ray Ceralde, said there is some leeway in enforcement of the rules. "It is not practical to check all communication, especially private communication," he noted in an e-mail. "Some units may require that soldiers register their blog with the unit for identification purposes with occasional spot checks after an initial review. Other units may require a review before every posting."

    In other words, if we like you, say anything you want. If you don't, we're going to dig through every single thing you do when your hands touch a keyboard and find something to hang you with.

    This is going to sound like standard old-soldeir grumbling, but ... the service is really a mess these days. When I was in (1989-1997, including service in Desert Storm) it was generally understood that one of the great strengths of the American military, as opposed to most other countries' militaries, was our the general American-ness of the way we talked with each other and with the civilian world. Soldiers (in the generic sense: soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines) were expected to bitch, quite loudly and often in public, when something wasn't working right. Because that's how things got fixed. Yeah, we were supposed to work through the chain of command, if possible, but everyone including the chain of command knew that wasn't always going to work. And this understanding, and the bitching that it allowed, was what led to constant improvement in tactics, weapons, logistics, and everything else that keeps an army fighting.

    Now it seems like things are going more toward a Soviet model. Absolute obedience, top-down flow of information, shut up and do what you're told every single time; running the entire military like basic training. Well, guess what? Saddam Hussein's vaunted "fourth largest army in the world" was trained and equipped on Soviet lines, and we went through it like a hot knife through butter. Analysis after the end of the Cold War strongly suggests that if the balloon had ever gone up, the same thing would have happened on a grand scale in Europe. Authoritarian armies can win wars (Nazi Germany was just as authoritarian as the USSR, of course, but the German army was surprisingly flexible) but the cost is terrible -- as some German general is supposed to have remarked after the war, "We killed four of theirs for every one of ours they killed, but there was always a fifth Russian." Yeah, you can win wars like that, but (unless you're as bug-fuck insane as Stalin) you don't want to.

    Also? Shit like Abu Ghraib flourishes in an atmosphere of secrecy. Now, I'm not going to claim with 100% certainty that there was no abuse of prisoners in Desert Storm; there probably was. I can say that, if it had been widespread and systematized as it clearly is in Iraq, as a medic I would probably have known it was going on. And I never saw anything like that. We took better care of Iraqi prisoners than their own army did, which is one reason so many of them were so quick to surrender. Keeping things open is the best way to ensure that everybody plays by the rules, and that in turn can reduce bitterness after the fighting is over and keep us from having to fight more wars in the future.

    I look at those kids over there now, kids like I once was, and it seems to me they have more to fear from their own chain of command than they do from the enemy. That's fucked up.
    • by andphi (899406)
      It does sound like standard old-soldier grumbling, but I can't fault you for it.

      I'll express it in Perl:

      foreach (@foo) {
      print "The $foo has."
      }

      You name it, it has. Army, Air Force, The Corps (by which I mean the USMA Corps of Cadets, not those crazy leathernecks), etc.

      If the public can't hear the troops celebrating what works - including what they're doing that works - and bitching about what doesn't, that's a problem. However, even under the tightest of OPSEC controls, there's s
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Harin_Teb (1005123)
      "In other words, if we like you, say anything you want. If you don't, we're going to dig through every single thing you do when your hands touch a keyboard and find something to hang you with."

      Wrong.

      In other words, if you are a clerk at a desk in Illinois (for example) we won't require you to submit everything you blog about, and will only do spot checks, but if you are a special ops member involved in secret operations we will check everything you post on the internet.

      Doesn't seem unfair to me. Note that i
  • This rule won't effectively change anything. It's just another way for the military to hammer people who have a bad attitude. On the rare occasion someone actually does deserve to get railroaded, it will have served its purpose, but it won't change anything in the long run. It will limit people from posting random shots of Sadaam Hussein hanging and shit like that, but for the most part it will be business as usual.

    The UCMJ has a huge number of laws used to keep "discipline and order" within the military
  • by gillbates (106458) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:09AM (#18957127) Homepage Journal

    In public debate, transparency and freedom of speech are paramount to maintaining the security of our liberties. Free speech is a crucial aspect of ensuring that a free society remains free.

    But on the battlefield, the public debate has already ended. The security of society and its liberties is dependent upon the ability of military to do their job, and this requires that many things be kept secret from the enemy.

    When I was in the military, all of us understood that an unrestricted flow of information to the public was a Bad Thing(TM). Speech has consequences, and updating the reg to include email and blogs is to be expected. Quite frankly, I'm surprised it took so long.

    Most soldiers will tell you this is a matter of common sense. When I was in, we had only occasional access to email, and even then it was understood that we shouldn't put anything in an email which could be used against us or the Army.

  • by drjoe1e6 (461358) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:10AM (#18957145)
    Restrictions on what soldiers can say during wartime are nothing new. "Loose Lips Might Sink Ships" was a WWII slogan the gov't created.

    Wow... proper use of the word "loose" on slashdot!
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:10AM (#18957159)
    or write letters to people? Fox and all their friends are there to tell everyone how well things are going. There soldiers are not qualified to be tellers of things. Too much for the public to misinterpret. If a soldier has a bad day and tells his family about it, why, they could think the whole thing is going badly. Remember, free speech only works when it is approved through proper channels. PS: I assume that any serviceman/woman would know enough not to put operational stuff in a private blog or e-mail.
  • someone is up against the ropes and to help control the 'hit count' better, controlling how information gets out to the public is a must. After all, lying to the public and then having information from the soldiers contradicting those lies makes one look like a fool.

    LoB
  • Common Sense. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rayvd (155635) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:18AM (#18957271) Homepage Journal
    This is not some big conspiracy theory as I'm sure many people here will immediately cry out about.

    Far too easy to give away something that could compromise the security of a unit or a mission -- even if unintentionally. Taking this sort of precaution just makes common sense. The military is likely far more concerned with this type of a scenario than some soldier giving away some horrible conspiracy that everyone in the military is in on (in most part because these types of things would be impossible to hide and if they do come out are fringe exceptions rather than the rule). Most of the blogs out there from troops are of a personal nature or in fact shed light on the fact that things are really not going as badly as is portrayed in our media here.

    However, as someone else mentioned, it's probably not going to be too realistic to enforce in the long run.
    • This is not some big conspiracy theory as I'm sure many people here will immediately cry out about.

      No, it does not seem like a conspiracy, just a political move to stifle dissent and misinform the people. I don't know that anyone was conspiring, just playing politics.

      Far too easy to give away something that could compromise the security of a unit or a mission -- even if unintentionally. Taking this sort of precaution just makes common sense.

      There are already rules designed to stop active duty soldiers from discussing anything that might compromise their missions. This is not an actionable regulation for security reasons. Do you truly believe every CO will be reading every letter and e-mail and blog posting from every soldier under them and looking for unintentional slips t

  • Joining up,even if drafted, they lose a lot of basic freedoms including free speech. I could understand if their C.O.'s didn't want a blog post accidentally revealing the location of a group of soldiers somewhere but most of this is probably done so nothing "bad" is said about whats happening over there or our current administration.

    Let's not forget, this comes from the same people that didn't allow the footage of how many and when coffins/caskets were being brought home from Iraq to American soil. When
  • Seriously, how far will the Bush administration go down the road of trashing basic American values? Did they sleep through civics class?

    I have some very conservative friends who are so embarrassed by what "their guy" is doing that I have stopped talking about politics with them - no need to rub their noses in it. BTW, I voted for Bush in 2000 - I made a bad mistake, but I am willing to admit it.

    My wife and I watched Bush on TV yesterday. It seems to me that he plain outright lied about the appropriations bi
  • FUD at its finest... (Score:3, Informative)

    by pointbeing (701902) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:20AM (#18957295)
    Shame on you, Wired.

    Civilians cannot be prosecuted for violating Army regulations - period. Saying the reg applies to contractors and family members is one of the best examples of journalistic disingenuousness I've seen in quite some time.

    The Army can take action against a contractor up to and including cancelling the contract but they cannot take any action against an individual contract employee except to escort that employee off the installation and have him prosecuted by an agency that *does* have law enforcement capability - they also can't prevent family members from doing anything but can impose administrative sanctions against the family member. The Army has no law enforcement power against American civilians.

    Simply put a civilian cannot be prosecuted for violating AR 530-1. There are other laws that *do* apply to civilians, but this ain't one of them.
  • An OPSEC review is different than making sure no "bad news" leaks out. There are more details than those of upcoming operations that are useful to the enemy... Suppose somebody innocently mentions where he's based in one post, then mentions that he eats lunch with a bunch of officers every day in another, and then posts a picture of himself eating at his preferred table in a third post... Spending an hour skimming a blog could provide interesting details and target opportunities to a mortar team, and they d
  • One wonders if the publicity caused by the major strip willingness to publish soldiers story [typepad.com] had something to do with this. The other reason is to protect soldiers from themselves. Some young people have a need to gain attention by publishing even detail of thier lives, such as bondage photos torturing a prisoner.
  • Soldiers have always been restricted from including certain information in their correspondence and communications. Mail has always been subject to censorship. Censors were looking for any info that could identify the soldier's mission, unit, deployment and capability. Radio communication has been monitored for strict adherence to communication security. In fact, the Army Security Agency (ASA, know affectionately as "buddy fuckers"), continuously monitors radio communications and compiles statistics about t
  • As an officer currently serving, I can tell you that these rules are very rarely, if ever, enforced. Many Soldiers see this is as more of a legal catchall - similar in principle to the "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman" charge that can be leveled against an officer for just about anything, but is only used in practice when an officer does something that is obviously against the spirit of the law/UCMJ, but not the letter. The 1st Amendment / free speech angle doesn't really apply here, since all
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @11:34AM (#18957509) Journal
    For example: http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=233075&cid =18951775 [slashdot.org] any blog post or comment could contain sensitive information. This is never good while troops are in harms way. While it might seem somewhat draconian, this is one of those times when it is likely to be a matter of life and death to one or more people. Loose lips sink ships and all that.

    On the other hand, it does inhibit forms of free speech. Its always hard to strike a moral balance in such cases when life and death are in the balance. In the past all mail was filtered and censored during times of war. This is nothing really new as far as I can tell.
  • It has always been this way, of course they may have specifically defined blogging but communications security
    is nothing new in the military that includes all branches.
  • As someone from the military, I've seen people respond in /. forums and say they were from the military. One noteable thread about IA had one supposed Army IA contractor talking about their issues and included something that had the guy been telling the truth would have led him to, as a minimum, interview with the Army's investigative services. Its stuff that the IA community would know in general, you could pick up an many SANS conferences, but its also stuff the Army says, you don't need to be telling.

    Be

  • by catdevnull (531283) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:03PM (#18957935)
    When you enlist or you are commissioned as an officer in the US Military forces, you sign paperwork that waives some of your "normal" civilian rights. Recruits and commissioned officers submit to a new bill of rights known as the "Uniform Code of Military Justice [wikipedia.org]." The UCMJ is very clearly an abridged form of your rights as a US citizen. Sailers, Airmen, Marines, and Soldiers, while under contract to serve, understand this. This is not to say that the UCMJ is overly restrictive or oppressive--it's just not as wide open as your rights as a civilian (and it should not be).

    Much like other laws in the states, they are not always enforced but the rules are there. Military personnel have voluntarily sacrficed their normal civilian freedoms as part of the terms of service. I don't think it's fair to cry foul if the military wants to censor communications. We might not agree with decisions from the White House, Capitol Hill, or the Pentagon, but people wearing those uniforms are bound by duty and oath to honor and obey their orders.

    Cpl Catdevnull
    USMC 1987-1991
  • Ted: My orders came through. My squadron ships out tomorrow. We're bombing the storage depots at Daiquiri at 1800 hours. We're coming in from the north, below their radar.

    Elaine: When will you be back?

    Ted: I can't tell you that. It's classified.

  • Soldiers give up their right to free speech when they sign their contracts. This has been long established. So, I'm not sure why new rules for soldiers blogging would be a big deal. Any commander who wants to take it to an extreme will just piss off his troops and have a unit that is ineffective and uncertified for War.
  • In the Army you have to get approval to get a new pair of boots or visit a neighbor. Superiors can probably deny a request to visit the latrine. It's an authoritarian organization; its whole structure is based on strict rules and total control. The Army and the Internet are just about polar opposites.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The following is an e-mail circulating throughout DOD over the past few days.

    An Army LT who was an MP had a MySpace account. He used it as a diary of his days in Iraq. He had photos of himself in his uniform in most of the places within a tent city. He talked about USA tactics and how they were changing due to the ACM threat. He documented his day, down to the hour: where he was as what time, what times the chow hall was open for lunch and when it was crowded, when his sleeping schedules changes because of

It is contrary to reasoning to say that there is a vacuum or space in which there is absolutely nothing. -- Descartes

Working...