Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Sky is the Limit in the Air Force...Unless You Want to Read a Blog

Wired's blog on National Security, Danger Room, reports that now the Air Force is tightening its restrictions on which blogs its troops can read. This comes recently after my post about how Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV is calling for less restrictions on blogging for soldiers in the Army. Caldwell encourages soldiers to blog and send videos to their friends and family saying in his blog that it has an "overwhelming affect."

Any independent sites with the word "blog" in its web address are blocked and apparently, Air Force officials in the Air Force aren't so happy. Wired reports that one official said the restrictions are "utterly stupid, it makes me want to scream."

Even more disturbing, in my opinion, is the claim by the Air Force that blogs aren't legitimate media outlets. Clearly this is an awful cop-out meant to reinforce its reasons behind the tightened restrictions that blogs shouldn't be read on official time. As one Air Force official against the restrictions pointed out:

I'm certain that by blocking blogs for official use, our airmen will never, ever be able to read them on their own home computers, so we have indeed saved them from a contaminating influence. Sorry, didn't mean to drip sarcasm on your rug.

It's amazing that if blogs aren't considered legit media outlets they're creating such a stir. Blogs are what have the mainstream media shaking in its boots and now, a blogger has won the prestigious George Polk Award. Joshua Micah Marshall of Talking Points Memo was awarded for his coverage of the firing of eight United States attorneys. So, I guess there's no need to take bloggers seriously, right?

Making a statement such as that makes the Air Force look a bit ignorant but it's refreshing to see that a lot of officials are frustrated with the limitations.

The military is touting security issues for keeping a tight leash on soldiers in the Army when it comes to blogging and the Air Force is also on the bandwagon. Of course there are security concerns but blocking every independent site with the word "blog" is not the way to go.

The military's battle over blogs started last year and has continued so it will be interesting to see any developments now that the Air Force is jumping in.

Blogs are making a quite big splash for not being a legitimate media outlet.

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