Markey to DOD: drop Web site blocks

The chairman of a House subcommittee is prodding Defense Secretary Robert Gates to repeal the policy announced last week and implemented Monday to block more than a dozen of the most popular Web sites from being accessed using DOD computer resources.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, sent a letter May 15 to Gates questioning the Pentagon's logic in blocking military personnel from visiting YouTube.com, myspace.com and 11 other popular 'entertainment' sites.

'While I understand concerns about bandwidth strain on the network, I fail to see how blocking these particular sites is consistent with achieving network efficiency,' Markey wrote. 'If network congestion was an issue, for instance, it is surprising that no bandwidth-intensive gaming sites are on the list of prohibited sites.'

Because these sites are so popular with troops stationed overseas, providing a critical boost to morale, Markey urged Gates to reconsider the policy and remove the blocks.

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