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U.S. Army Restricts Access To 'The Guardian' Website (npr.org)
73 points by JumpCrisscross 1607 days ago | hide | past | web | 10 comments | favorite

If true, I find the stupidity of this move amazing. Now Chinese government officials can convincingly argue that the U.S. policies are really no different from Chinese ones and that all this talk about freedom is just state propaganda.

Are we sure it's not really just state propaganda? That argument can be convincingly argued because it seems to hold some truth.

At this point, yes it is. The west has surrendered any moral authority it might have had. I'm sorry but I'll particularly single out America, though as a Brit I'm fully aware it's happening here too. Chinese hacking American firms? Well, the NSA is spying on everybody who uses American web services, so there's no moral authority there. Persecuting activists? I'm no fan of Julian Assange, but Senators calling for his assassination are just handing over any moral high ground we might have had as a free gift. Peaceful Occupy movement demonstrations get violently assaulted by the police, so why shouldn't the Turkish cops brutalise peaceful protesters? That's what pluralistic democracies do.

That's a bit silly. As much as I think this move is a bad idea, it's important to keep perspective. In China all citizens are under a broad umbrella of censorship. Here only members of the US Army, who have entered into a voluntary contract, are having some of their access while on base restricted. This is little different from restrictive corporate firewalls, which are commonplace.

> This is little different from restrictive corporate firewalls, which are commonplace.

Conceptually, the filtering is little different. This policy, however, is very different in the severity of consequence. The superficial story is that the filters have been implemented. No different than Wikileaks, really. The memo and basis for the filters is a very different story.

The memorandum distributed to address the policy mentions sanctions for soldiers found proliferating the Guardian material. Most concerning is that the filters are described as preexisting filters that prevent the mixing of classified information and unclassified systems. In other words, the Army is classifying Guardian articles as TS level content. This is unauthorized for unclassified systems and to be read by soldiers who lack the appropriate clearance. By unauthorized it is meant to mean punishable under UCMJ as a security violation; it's a criminal offense.

The memo also charges leadership with accountability for establishing a vigilant command climate to underscore the secure handling of classified information. Very likely, this means leaders are empowered to implement local measures to ensure unclassified systems operated by soldiers do not house classified information. This is essentially treating a soldier found with an article from Greenwald the same as a soldier who transferred data from a classified system.

The criminal conduct aspect here is, to me, very different from restrictive corporate firewalls.

Previous discussion (different article) here - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5955833

This is not particularly surprising to me. When I was employed with the US government for a short time as a contractor during the Bradley Manning / Wikileaks mess, we were repeatedly reminded of the INFOSEC policy that restricted us from visiting those sites. That is, official policy states that any access of classified material on a NIPRnet(that is, public Internet)-connected computer would be treated as data leakage, with the same punishments and criminal hubbub as any other leak, regardless of the fact that it had been released publicly.

That policy was never rooted in sound logic, in my opinion, but it is still active. Outright blocking of the Guardian newspaper was probably not necessary - in our case, fear of persecution was enough to keep us from visiting Wikileaks, at least at work - but it is consistent with their policy and motives.

Is access of such publicly available information by a military/government employee on an Internet connection they're personally paying for, using a device they personally own (such as on a home PC), also not allowed?

That I am not sure of. At least, until now, I didn't think that it was likely for them to be checking up on that or to have that data. Now, even though I know they have the data, it seems unlikely to me that they would use it for something as inconsequential as enforcing this policy.

The pinnacle of inefficiency. Common sense would dictate that leaked information can no longer be considered "Secret," and as such needs to be dealt with in an expedient manner. (disinfo campaign, discredit leak source[s,] etc.)

To stick their heads under the sand like this is shameful.

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