The Department of Defense last week issued a new policy allowing military personnel to access social-media sites and other Web 2.0 applications from nonclassified government computers, as long as it is done safe and securely.
“This directive recognizes the importance of balancing appropriate security measures while maximizing the capabilities afforded by 21st-century Internet tools,” Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said.
Until now, most military personnel have been able to access social-media platforms from their government computers, but policies have not been consistent across the department. The Marine Corps instituted a policy in early 2007 blocking Marines from accessing these sites through the Marine networks. However, Marines have been allowed to access the sites from personal computers.
“The world of Web 2.0 and the Internet provides these amazing opportunities to collaborate,” said David M. Wennergren, deputy assistant secretary of defense for information management and technology. “It not only promotes information sharing across organizational boundaries and with mission partners, but also enables deployed troops to maintain contact with their loved ones at home.”
While allowing access to these sites, the new policy also notes the importance of protecting military networks and operations. According to the policy, commanders are allowed to temporarily limit that access as required to maintain operations security or address bandwidth constraints. It also prohibits malicious activity on military information networks and denies access to sites promoting prohibited activity such as gambling, pornography and hate crimes.