Saturday, May 05, 2007

Open Source

Whew, the sure-fire way for me to beat a geekgasm is to venture into fanfic/'shipper's territory. I like to geek out on sci fi, but I've always stopped at that line. When I do creative writing, I invent my own characters and plot. Fanfic just ain't my thing... and 'shipping is kind of creepy. (Take Harry Potter 'shippers, for example.)
Anyway, I was reading the Intar-webs a few days ago, as I am wont to do from time to time, and I found this article at Michelle Malkin describing the Army's self-destructive policy toward blogging.

The original Wired article states:
The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.

Well, heck. I understand the need for OPSEC, honestly, but milbloggers are the best public affairs resource the military has. However, even the most innocuous information can useful to an adversary. I don't post future destinations or details about ongoing operations, but I write about day to day life here on the ship and it's available to anyone and there's just no telling what information could be of use to someone looking to harm U.S. servicemen or high-value targets. Somebody on my ship and another ship have already gotten into trouble for posting details about my current visit to Mayport and ships' schedules.

Everything I write here and elsewhere becomes open source, available to anybody at all that wants to look. Just in the last 100 hits on PCIF, I've got one from Malaysia, Argentina, India and all over the U.S. (including the Pentagon); I've also had hits from plenty of middle eastern and from China and South Korea. (All South Korean military officers are spies. No kidding.) Anything I write will be unclassified and if I am informed that my posts may be harmful to ongoing operations, I'll take them down. I post on a variety of topics, some of which are military-related and some that are tangetial to operations my ship participates in.

I don't think that silencing milbloggers is good, but we all need to realize the potential harm it could do. I think training and spotchecking will help, but milbloggers need to take personal responsibility for the information they put out there. It turns out that the Army actually is not restricting milblogs any more than they already do, but it's good for us to be reminded that the Internet is not a private medium and that it never forgets.

That's what I get for taking three days to post about breaking news.

I personally enjoy how my old friend Josh handles this. He's currently a reservist called to active duty in Iraq and his Iceblog is pretty entertaining. Wish him luck.

OPFOR - Aw Hell.
Coconut Commando - No More Blogging For The Commando?
Mary Katharine Ham - How to Lose the Information War for Good: The Death of Combat Blogging

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