Marines: Facebook is not for the few good men

Security make the ban necessary, order states

Marine Corps officials have banned using social-networking Web sites on the service’s networks due to the security risks associated with the Web 2.0 tools, according to an order published on the Marine Corps Web site.

The order issued August 3 bans accessing social networking tools that include Facebook and Twitter on the Marine Corps Enterprise Network and on the Non-secure Internet Protocol Router Network.

“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 order states, adding that social networking sites create an easy conduit for information leakage.

The service also banned accessing the sites through virtual private network connections. However, Marine Corp personnel may still access social networking sites sponsored by the Defense Department and hosted on internal networks, the order states.

DOD-wide policies on the use of social media tools are being re-evaluated, according to a U.S. Strategic Command blog entry and widespread media reports.

The Strategic Command, which oversees the use of the dot-mil network, has launched a review of the safety of the sites, according to several reports.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Sun, Aug 9, 2009

Loose Lips Sink Ships...

Thu, Aug 6, 2009

Many people are reading into this too much. The Marine Corps did not ban Social Media use, it just banned access on their network. These sites have been off limits for quite a while. It is like your company blocking Facebook on your work computer. 'Training' isn't the issue, Marines get plenty of OpSec and Information Security training. It's just a question of resources, and the Marine Corps is making it clear that it's network is to support the mission, not stream video or chat with friends...

Thu, Aug 6, 2009

Let's look at what the policy actually says: it applies only to Marine Corps systems. It means that the Marine can't access Facebook or MySpace from his/her work system, but it says nothing about what the Marine can do from home, from a personal computer on a public network, or from a MCCS provided kiosk. This has been the policy for the past two years. There is no restriction on what Marines can say on these sites from their personal systems, as long as it doesn't break security laws and doesn't bring discredit to the Marine Corps; and if you know Marines, they speak their mind. If the specific mission or job requires the access while on duty, the policy outlines a structured waiver process. Marines have no problem with this policy, and there have been comments in other forums where many in the other services agree. Let's also be honest, there are significant security risks that we all know about. I think this policy is moving in the right way...don't just jump in, move in smartly.

Wed, Aug 5, 2009 Lanie James OKC

I work in HigherEd and we discussed this topic in my presentation today. What my main question - is how to actually implement the policy when soldiers are not on duty, on base or anyway utilizing DoD resources? My question isn't whether social media training SHOULD be done - my question is HAS it been done? This is a relevant topic to learn about whether you're a soldier, high school student or looking for a job. How do you put the cat back in the bag?

Wed, Aug 5, 2009

It's about time. You can't redact the hundreds of thousands of Facebook blogs owned by troops and their families. It isn't the blatant data that is the risk, it is the subtle things you want to share as a person that you oughtn't share as a soldier. Especially among younger troops, self-editing just isn't in their vocabulary - just look at all the stupid troubles they get themselves into posting bare bottomed pictures or that there will be a party at their house. There isn't ANY expectation of privacy on Facebook and this is something that is really difficult for the younger troops to grasp. We provide them with sites for communicating homme, which is better than what their fathers and grandfathers had. It should be enough.

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