August 04, 2009

Marines need honor, courage and commitment, but not Twitter, Facebook or MySpace. Citing possible security issues, the U.S. Marine Corps Tuesday issued an immediate ban of all social networking sites on its network.

In a memo to fellow Marines, Brigadier Gen. George Allen, Director for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers and chief information officer, said that the sites are a "proven haven" for malicious posters and are "particularly high risk" since Marines could be targeted by enemies.

"The very nature of SNS [social networking sites] provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts OPSEC [operations security], COMSEC [communication security], personnel and MCEN [National Marine and Coastal Educators Network] at an elevated risk of compromise."

The one-year ban involves accessing the social networking sites via the Marine's NIPRNET (Nonsecure Internet Protocol Router Network), as well as through VPNs.

Ironically, also on Tuesday, Google launched the Google Voice app for service men and women. Any active U.S. service member with a .mil email address can sign up for a Google Voice account and start using the free service within a day, and set up an account before they deploy.

If military members have already deployed, families can set up an account for their service member.

"Loved ones can call to leave messages throughout the day, and then when that service member visits an Internet trailer, all the messages are right there. It's like a care package in audio form," wrote U.S. Army Sgt. Dale Sweetnam, on Google's blog.