Defense Department Says MySpace, YouTube Eating Up Too Much Bandwidth

from the no-more dept

The U.S. Department of Defense is apparently cutting off access to a variety of sites, including MySpace and YouTube. It's not so much that they don't want people surfing the web for recreational purposes... but that they don't have enough bandwidth to handle the demand. In a time where the Defense Department probably should be doing its best to keep soldiers happy, cutting them off from one of their main sources of entertainment and communication seems like a particularly short-sighted move. Obviously, if you had to chose between, say, body armor and more bandwidth, you could make the argument that body armor could be more important -- but it certainly seems likely to greatly upset a lot of soldiers.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Az, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:06pm

    Short-sighted move?

    not exactly since these sites provide the other side of the argument...

    First!

     

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  2.  
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    anonymous coward, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:11pm

    if you substitute "free speech" for "bandwidth" you actually get a true statement.

     

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  3.  
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    chris (profile), May 14th, 2007 @ 1:15pm

    obligatory

    you go to war with the bandwidth you have, not with the bandwidth you would like to have.

     

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  4.  
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    Sohrab, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:20pm

    Re: obligatory

    So is that like saying, you go to war with the Armor and Equipment you have and not what you would like to have? Cause if so, that means there is no room for criticism or upgrades. Everything is what it is?

     

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  5.  
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    Az, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: obligatory

    Sohrab - you missed Rumy's famous quote on equipment

     

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  6.  
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    Mike4, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:26pm

    Since when is the government trying to make soldiers happy? I'm not trying to be controversial, but the military is not like some 9-5 job where you can do pretty much what you want.

     

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  7.  
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    Faceless Minion, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: obligatory

    Unfortunately, that's exactly what that quote means... because Bush SAID "You go to war with the army you have, not the army you would like to have." It's also the reason that when army or national guard groups would try and upgrade their vehicles with armor plating, theyd get screamed at - because apparently fuel efficiency is more important then the engine exploding. THAT is a big issue.

    That being said... THIS is really a terribly minor issue, and I dont see why people are whining about it. A term of military service means that you're owned till you are out of the military, end of story.

     

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  8.  
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    Faceless Minion, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: obligatory

    And excuse my stupidity, yeah, it was Rummy

     

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  9.  
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    Witty Nickname, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:31pm

    Just dispursing

    OK, so you blocked PhotoBucket - you will now see your traffic split between PicasaWeb, walgreens.com, etc.

    You block myspace, they go to another less popular social networking site. You use just as much bandwidth, while also managing to piss off the troops.

    Maybe the Pentagon could allow private citizen to pay for their internet access, like we pay for their phone cards. I would chip in $20 to let the soldiers get on Myspace, I doubt I am the only one.

    Maybe MySpace could solicit donations on their site.

     

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  10.  
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    TbaBin (profile), May 14th, 2007 @ 1:32pm

    Correction, that is a Rumsfeld quote

    As you know, you go to war with the Army you have. They're not the Army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
    Donald Rumsfeld


    On another note,I would think Google and News Corp would help chip in the cost of the bandwidth. Good PR if you ask me.

     

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  11.  
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    Able-X, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:40pm

    no IT people here?

    As an Network Admin, I too have had to block myspace and youtube at times. They really do use ALOT of bandwidth, and it's a valid justification as to why the DOD is blocking those sites.

     

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  12.  
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    chokeX, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:46pm

    it'll be just like a highschool

    now you'll have a bunch of soldiers that know how to use a web proxy and still use the sites

     

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  13.  
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    UniBoy, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:48pm

    Won't work

    Unfortunately, data behaves as a gas. It alsways expands to fill its container. Whatever bandwidth they have, its going to get used up --- for something. If not MySpace and YouTube, then something else will fill the gap.

    Would they rather have the soldiers just e-mail the videos to one another?

     

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  14.  
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    That Guy, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:49pm

    Re: to poster #11

    I would have to agree with you. Youtube is a pretty clear offender for sucking up bandwidth, and the thing that so many people forget about myspace is the HUGE amount of movies and music that you can get to from the site.

    With youtube its all or nothing for the site, but it's a shame that myspace.com can't run a "light" version that filters out video & music content but still allows people to have access to the bulletins, message boards and emails.

     

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  15.  
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    Dan, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    As a Soldier who was in Afghanistan and needed to use the Government provided network for work this is a great move.
    Since we were relying on satellite communications the internet speeds were not fast to begin with, then we had to deal with everyone swarming the office computers to check their myspace or upload the pictures they just took. The afternoon / evening hours it would take forever to get documents to load. If I had to scan and send documents stateside I would go in at 0400 just so it didn't take me all day to send.

    There are other internet options available for Moral boosting. The USO had its own connection providing wireless connections with no blocks. There was also a service you could buy for $35 a month to have internet in your quarters. I'm pretty sure the MWR available computers were also on a separate connection because they allowed blocked sites.

    The DOD doesn't go out trying to violate our rights, there are good reasons for what they do. People need to stop crying about not being able to access certain sites and remember the other wars where our Brothers in Arms sat in a foxhole for weeks at a time...

     

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  16.  
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    Jake Lockley, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:53pm

    It's all that Friggin AJAX!

     

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  17.  
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    Mark, May 14th, 2007 @ 1:55pm

    I'm in a Communications Squadron in one of the branches of the military. The bandwidth is coming from Satilite in most cases and there is not that much bandwidth avail as not only computer but voice/video communications must use as well. In many case there could only be 256k or 512k avail for data/voice. And then the data has to be split up between the classified and unclassified networks. I'm surprised access to those sites lasted this long.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2007 @ 2:05pm

    Isn't this a TECHNICAL forum?

    Why not traffic-shape the bandwidth that can be put toward those sites at any given time. Blocking seems extreme when you can throttle overall traffic to a reasonable proportion. The result would ultimately be FEWER pissed off troops who can't see videos of their family or a funny clip someone wanted to send. If the messages says "network load too busy - try again later" they'll think they're on any other crappy commercial ISP.

    Bandwidth requirements are evolving, as they have been since the mainframe days. As more and more customers are getting faster and faster connections, expect the amount of streaming content to get more detailed and much more prolific. (Just wait for the damn advertising and porn pop-ups!) If we are taxing our resources at this much consumption, clearly banning a few websites is as effective as hiding your head like an ostrich. Plus, it puts your back-side about where we all expect to see it!

     

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  19.  
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    discojohnson, May 14th, 2007 @ 2:12pm

    bandwidth?

    the block is not for bandwidth concerns, trust me. i recently separated from the air force (and was positioned at a place appropriate to talk to this exact topic). in theater, bandwidth is a concern, yes. everywhere else, not really. it's about not wanting folks screwing off at work, under the guise of saving bandwidth. ok, get this: all traffic, not internal to a base, was sent to a central location several thousand miles away for monitoring and flow control. even with this kind of spread, over the enterprise i could still draw over 5000k/s from almost anywhere, even during peek usage times with

     

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  20.  
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    Some Person, May 14th, 2007 @ 2:39pm

    The Internet

    You know, the internet does not belong to you, you are a "leaser" of the internet. Actually it belongs to the US government. Here is an idea, why dont people start a Ad-Hoc pptp network that the government doesnt control?

     

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  21.  
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    Wyndle, May 14th, 2007 @ 2:42pm

    Re: chokeX

    The DOD already blocks every known web proxy and is constantly monitoring for signs of unknown ones being used. There are ways around but the di... er, personnel, in charge of the proxys and firewalls are very efficient at stopping unwanted web usage.

     

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  22.  
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    TheDock22, May 14th, 2007 @ 3:03pm

    Does anyone read?

    We have had some posts from military personnel. They aren't blocking access to ALL internet connections, just the ones being in military offices...for military work. Troops are free to have internet in their "dorms" and access wireless connections.

    You are all making a big deal out of nothing. I don't even get to surf YouTube or MySpace where I work, and I'm sure it is a bandwidth issue over anything else.

     

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  23.  
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    El Jefe, May 14th, 2007 @ 3:50pm

    No Big Deal

    They have blocked these sites for quite a long time at the base I am stationed at. This is really old new and just not that big of a deal...

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2007 @ 4:32pm

    is this about bandwidth, or not wanting soldiers to blog about their experiences and post cellphone videos?

     

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  25.  
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    Not an idiot, May 14th, 2007 @ 4:39pm

    Please, this is most certainly about bandwidth. the military doesn't have some deep dark motive for all of its actions no matter how much you'd like to believe it. get a grip.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2007 @ 5:00pm

    Re: No Big Deal

    There is the Internet, and there is the NMCI, and never the twain shall meet (or at least, they are not supposed to).
    The NMCI (google it) is the largest network outside of the internet. Owned by the Navy and run by EDS (yes, that EDS).
    It would be fair to say these blocks are a combination of bandwidth and keeping with the agreement users click past every time they log on htat says they understand they are using a DoD network for DoD work. Not watching mentos and diet coke get it on.
    They blocked the Warcraft forums, too. Where's the hue and cry about that?

     

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  27.  
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    RandomThoughts, May 14th, 2007 @ 6:24pm

    Don't we kind of want our military to be pissed off?

    I actually served, so before you go all protesty, lighten up.

     

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  28.  
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    mkam, May 15th, 2007 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: chokeX

    Ha! Thanks, I needed a good laugh in the morning. 'every known proxy'? I love it.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    David Williams, May 15th, 2007 @ 6:40am

    I think the bigger picture here is that the brass is realizing that the internet is a threat to their control over the flow of data about the war. Not tactical data, but information that gives families/friends a feeling for what goes on on the ground that's not necessarily in keeping with the Tillman/Lynch spin.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Max, May 15th, 2007 @ 6:55am

    Re:

    "The DOD doesn't go out trying to violate our rights, there are good reasons for what they do. "

    Yes the DOD does, the whole purpose of the DoD is to violate rights and destroy property.

     

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  31.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, May 15th, 2007 @ 8:48am

    Blogs and security

    The amount of interesting info wich leaks out from around the edges of what is supposed to be secret is quite large. for example, in teh first Gulf War, and otehr heavily reported operatios, it was possible to infer where an operation was going to take place because the patterns of reporting change. Even using three channels, if there are suddenly fewer reports about an area, it can be inferred that there is some form of build-up there which no-one wants attention drawn to. Whilst this sort of thing is not particularly useful to governments, it could well be to guerillas with weaker inteligence support.

    Consider this: if several soldiers from a unit were blogging about theier daily lives, events happening around the base and so on, and then the posts stopped for a while, you could guess that either they had moved, and so the posts were disrupted, or that they were doing something which they were told to keep quiet about. OTOH, the news often reports what regiment they are with, and thier location, so that is nnot a significant porblem.

    I should think the main reason is to stop people fooling around on work computers, not because they necessarily think fooling around is bad, but to stop those wasting time from wasting bandwidth as well. i should think proxies are blocked for security reasons. Blocking them is as simple as using a read program to add the domain names and their IP addresses of all the proxies listed in sites full of open proxies. Of course a private, personal proxy would go undectected for far longer, but since you have little privacy frpm your ISP (all security certificates et go through them, so any encrypted data you download with a key can be decrypted trivially), you would get caught eventually.

     

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  32.  
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    taxpayer joe, May 15th, 2007 @ 9:21am

    work when at work

    DOD employees should be working when at work, not watching youtube videos.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Rose, May 15th, 2007 @ 5:04pm

    Bandwidth Usage vs Soldier Safety

    I heard on the news this morning that the soldiers who wish to surf MySpace etc, can do so at several of the Internet Cafes available.

    Yikes.

    They would rather put our soldiers in harms way by making them use public internet cafes, than allow them to use a little extra bandwidth during their off-time.

     

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  34.  
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    salem, May 15th, 2007 @ 6:11pm

    Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    salem, May 15th, 2007 @ 6:13pm

    Re:

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    James Stevens, May 15th, 2007 @ 6:32pm

    hmm...

    I guess soldiers will just be forced to use P2P and other video sites. Bandwidth prolly won't change.

     

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  37.  
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    jason, May 18th, 2007 @ 5:31am

    Re: Bandwidth Usage vs Soldier Safety

    QUOTE:
    I heard on the news this morning that the soldiers who wish to surf MySpace etc, can do so at several of the Internet Cafes available.

    Yikes.

    They would rather put our soldiers in harms way by making them use public internet cafes, than allow them to use a little extra bandwidth during their off-time.

    /Quote

    The internet cafe would be on post provided by MWR (Moral Welfare and Recreation) Red Cross, or SpaWar.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Richard Head, May 18th, 2007 @ 3:08pm

    My Name is Earl

    You are ugly. Ugly fugly.

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Sergeant M, Jun 25th, 2007 @ 9:16am

    SUCH BULLSHIT

    I am on a remote site in Iraq. Let me tell you, sites such as Myspace are the easiest way for us to keep in touch with our loved ones. Its quite ironic, because SPAWAR provides us voip phones. Voip phones that you have to PAY FOR MINUTES ON. So basically they are making it so the only way we can communicate home is to use their voip phones which they are using over their internet connection for free and charging the shit out of us in the process. Guess what else? These voip phones use FAR MORE bandwidth than surfing Myspace. This is on the Marine Welfare Recreation networks, which are set up for MORALE, WELFARE AND RECREATION - NOT FOR TACTICAL COMMUNICATIONS. I swear they want to exploit us for every damn penny they can. Reenlist? FUCK THAT.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Edub9, Feb 12th, 2008 @ 10:00pm

    Re: Re: to poster #11

    I wholeheartedly agree with the "light" version. I am a heavy myspace user but also an artistwebdesigncoderetcetc. And a linux/win dual boot user and if I could have a light version I don't think I would switch back. I have been on myspace since it's inception and it has sooooo many bugs and. has really pissed me off at times. As far as the soldiers go give em a break they are being shot at and dying. At least they could see a lil' youtube myspace xtube etc.

     

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  41.  
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    nogomego, Dec 9th, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: Won't work

    You can block attachments too. In fact, they could conceivably block everything but text or html over ports 80, 443, 110, 25, etc using firewalls and proxy servers (things they already have in place). They own the equipment and are paying for the bandwidth, so they do have the right to do as they wish with it. Yes, we pay the taxes that pay for the stuff. But you would still get your head shot in if you tried to jump in a tank and take it for a spin. So get off it.

    VN, wwI and II, the soldiers were lucky to get a letter before they got themselves shot. Now we have people complaining because they can't watch the latest youtube crap? And no, I'm not convinced the majority of them are using it for friends and family. If they can get email they should consider themselves lucky.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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