If there was ever a group of people that have to sacrifice in ways that I simply cannot imagine it’s the men and women of the US Armed Forces and in this case the United States Marine Corps (Semper Fi). These folks have volunteered to do a job that most of us would not do but ranks as one of the most important jobs any person could do. They make incredible sacrifices so we can complain about how rich people manipulate the Internet for more riches. Makes this all seem kind of insignificant doesn’t it? Now, the Marines have to abide by the order which bans all social networking sites from Marine networks which cuts off one of the few ways they can even feel like they still have a home.
In an announcement entitled “Immediate Ban of All Social Networking Sites (SNS) on Marine Corps Enterprise Network (MCEN) NIPRNET” the impact on Marines and contact with the outside world is pretty obvious. Mashable reports that the order states:
THESE INTERNET SITES IN GENERAL ARE A PROVEN HAVEN FOR MALICIOUS ACTORS AND CONTENT AND ARE PARTICULARLY HIGH RISK DUE TO INFORMATION EXPOSURE, USER GENERATED CONTENT AND TARGETING BY ADVERSARIES. THE VERY NATURE OF SNS CREATES A LARGER ATTACK AND EXPLOITATION WINDOW, EXPOSES UNNECESSARY INFORMATION TO ADVERSARIES AND PROVIDES AN EASY CONDUIT FOR INFORMATION LEAKAGE THAT PUTS OPSEC, COMSEC, PERSONNEL AND THE MCEN AT AN ELEVATED RISK OF COMPROMISE. EXAMPLES OF INTERNET SNS SITES INCLUDE FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, AND TWITTER.
So why report this on an Internet marketing site? Why not? Social media reaches all walks of life these days and could actually serve to help these men and women in service of our country to stay in touch with their families in a way that has never been an option in the past. Unfortunately, with the good comes the bad which is the threat that enemies could gather information that could hurt everyone involved.
There truly is power in social media and we, in the free world, need to make sure that we understand that this is a privilege much more than it is a right. While I do not like any government intervention in the personal use of these sites I have to understand this ban but it hurts to hear it. These servants deserve more but the world right now doesn’t allow for it.
For many of these brave people I have to suspect that the world just got a little more lonely. As an option, maybe all of us who benefit from their sacrifice could put together a note or a package to someone they know in the service. I am not asking for some big concerted effort but just to take a minute to think about how we may be able to say thank you. We live in tough times and we talk about community all the time on the Internet. Here may just be a chance to show real support and some real community. Just a thought.