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American Forces Press Service

Defense Department Blocks Internet Sites to Protect Grid

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2007 – The Defense Department is blocking access to many popular Internet sites from department-owned computers due to bandwidth issues, U.S. Strategic Command officials said today.

Joint Task Force Global Network Operations, which directs the operation and defense of the Defense Department’s global information grid to assure timely and secure capabilities in support of the department’s warfighting, intelligence, and business missions, blocked 12 popular sites on government computers today.

The sites are: youtube.com, pandora.com, photobucket.com, myspace.com, live365.com, hi5.com, metacafe.com, mtv.com, ifilm.com, blackplanet.com, stupidvideos.com and filecabi.com.

The popularity of the sites has not affected operations yet, but blocking them prevents them from causing such a problem, officials said . “It is a proactive measure: we do not want a problem with demand for these sites clogging the networks,” a U.S. Strategic Command official said.

The blocks affect only Defense Department computers and local area networks that are part of the department’s global information grid. The department has more than 15,000 local and regional networks and more than 5 million computers in the grid.

Department officials stress they are not making a judgment about the sites. Blocking the sites “is in no way a comment on the content, purpose or uses of the Web sites themselves,” the official said. “It is solely a bandwidth/network management issue.”

Offices with a need to access these sites from government computers can request exceptions to the policy. Global network operations officials will continue to assess the stresses and strains on the global information grid, and may add or subtract sites as needed, officials said.

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