DOD blocks employees from video sites in wake of Japan crisis

Interest following quake, tsunami, nuclear plant explosions taxes bandwidth

Defense Department employees who are drawn to video-streaming sites to check on the latest images of the crisis in Japan will now have to wait until they are home to look. DOD’s Cyber Command has shuttered access to YouTube, Amazon and Google video for its workers, reports the Associated Press.

Employees' appetite to view the destruction in Japan -- following an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant explosions -- is eating up the bandwidth that is already plagued with problems in that region of the globe, the AP report said.

The military has had a lukewarm relationship with social media. Defense Systems has reported that DOD considered banning Twitter, Facebook and other social-networking sites in the summer of 2009 for security reasons. Then earlier this year, with DOD social media guidelines about to expire on March 1, and no formal announcement of a follow-up policy, many feared the expiration could curb access to popular websites, Defense Systems reported. Finally officials reauthorized the rules for another year.

The U.S. Pacific Command requested to have the sites blocked to meet the needs of U.S. troops because “its networking and circuits in the region are facing extreme demands,” the AP article states.

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Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.

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