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The Few, The Proud, The Marines Are Banned from Social Media Sites

US Marine Corps LogoIf 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.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    Some food for thought, thanks for sharing.

    You know, even if you look at this superficially, don’t we want our veterans to be able to enter civilian life with social media skills?

  • http://www.jaankanellis.com Jaan Kanellis

    I can understand security to a point, but if it has to come at the cost of our military forces ability to communicate with loved ones then their has to be another option. This is terrible news for those in the military as most communicate through social networks and not by email any longer. Tell me there has to be a better way to secure the network while allowing them to use FB, Twitter whatever. Or at least come forward and admit it is not security issue, rather something else.

    This is like one big dumb dino-company simply blocking FB or Twitter company-wide without the proper analysis completed internally.
    .-= Jaan Kanellis´s last blog ..Bing = Yahoo: One Search Result…Finally =-.

  • http://www.devildogbrew.com Hank

    As a retired Marine and business owner this is news to me that I’ll be checking into more thoroughly, quite the surprise as over the last few years I’ve been intimately involved in the maturation of social networking.

    I actually authored the first Internet Policy of the Marine Corps that was released as an ALMAR (All Marine Message) entitled as I recall “Prohibited and Permissive Use Of The Internet”, I’ll be pulling the document tonight for reference. Fortunately, I will be in Quantico, Virginia (Crossroads of the Marine Corps) 12-16 of August 2009 for an annual reunion with the largest social networking group of Marines – TogetherWeServed – This 1 million member strong organization was originally founded by Marines (another mustang Major Wes Prater et. al.) and now includes members of all Armed Services to include the Coast Guard. Apropos to social networking OPSEC has been part and parcel of the development of TWS and coincidentally I found out about this post here from a twitter alert from one of my social networking consultants LangfordSevier.

    Thanks again for bringing this to my attention, I look forward to posting an update in the near future.

    With Utmost Respect ~ Semper Fi, Hank
    Major – USMC (Retired)
    Owner/Founder Devil Dog Brew & Sniper’s Brew
    .-= Hank´s last blog ..SemperToons Retail Store NOW OPEN =-.

  • http://interactive-blogger.com Peter Davies

    The problem is it does not take the wrong people too long to build a profile of someone and what they using social media these days and given the state of the world and the operational aspects of what some of our men and ladies are doing can have grave security implications.

    Also military people are by nature suspicious of new tech phenomina.

    There are so many social engineering methods in use that this sledge hammer effect seems to be the easiest solution from their perspective.
    .-= Peter Davies´s last blog ..Maria Andros – Video Marketing Tutorial =-.

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  • Jason

    This ban has slowly been implemented across all Department of Defense systems. This is not just a Marine ban. This is strictly for government systems and in no way affects the systems used for morale. They are not saying the Marines cannot access Facebook or MySpace or Twitter on their time. They are saying that Marines cannot access these Social Networking sites while at work.

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    @Jason – I suspect that Marines in the field don’t have much access to the kind of ‘hot spots’ we Internet marketers refer to. Once again, this is not an indictment of what the USMC is doing because with national security issues at stake it makes sense. This just shows that while we think the Internet is free and open we have to be aware that there are those who use that openness to carry out their less than admirable objectives. It’s really a shame because there is no group in the world that I respect more and feel more passionate about than our armed forces. I wish they could have more ‘freedom’ to stay in touch but I suspect they understand the reasons for this policy better than we do.
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Good Sales Help is VERY Hard to Find =-.

  • http://bustedkeys.com Busted Keys

    my friend who had applied to the FBI was not banned from using the likes of Facebook however he was advised not to use his real name or picture for security reasons. this is all understandable. however the suggestion to him was made within 24 hours he had made an update in his Facebook account. that means Big Brother is out there!
    .-= Busted Keys´s last blog ..Twitter Rocket =-.

  • Jason

    While deployed there is plenty of access to morale systems that can be used when off duty. I suppose it is one of those things where you have to be there to understand. This is being overhyped.

  • Jason

    All service members are allowed to use any social networking site they choose. This article simply states that on government systems they will be blocked. It’s the same
    as your office blocking access to chat or porn or any other site that is NSFW. Or that the deem a waste of company resources or a threat to the security of the business.

  • http://www.frankthinking.com Frank Reed

    @ Jason – Thanks for your input. I couldn’t agree more that we all probably need to be there to understand. I never have been so I never will truly be able to. Beyond all the ‘overhype’, however, is my sincere gratitude to those who serve and are there.
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..Good Sales Help is VERY Hard to Find =-.

  • http://merchantstand.com Bob Williams

    It’s interesting to compare this type of approach with the one from the Air Force. http://www.webinknow.com/2009/04/free-social-media-ebook-and-video-new-media-and-the-air-force-.html
    .-= Bob Williams´s last blog ..Business decisions: customers, profits, and the golden rule =-.

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