Ars Technica (via Wired‘s Noah Shachtman) are running this story on a raft of new regulations about to hit the US Military which could see the end to US troops being able to run their own blogs. Basically, bloggers will need to seek a commanders opinion prior to publishing a blog entry to ensure that said entry does not contain any operational security related information (the Military term being OPSEC – see, they make up acronyms like I do!).
“Fair enough” you might think, “it’s important to keep the troops safe and the enemies guessing” but then the article introduces you to the man behind the new regulations, Major Ray Ceralde, who has an (apparently well advertised – i.e. he bangs on about it at any opportunity) pizza theory.
“…Specifically, he’s concerned that an upswing in pie “deliveries to a headquarters [could] be an indicator that a major operation is underway” — and therefore be useful to an enemy…”
Yow, you can’t really argue with that eh? The Ars Technica article covers the issue a lot better than I will here, but what I really want to discuss is the realities of enforcing this. As a rule, information wants to be free, and there’s enough free hosting blog spaces online which, in conjunction with the right anonymizer and proxies to route through, will allow you to post what you want, from where you want. Who, as a commander, is going to take the risk of authorizing a post anyway? From what we’ve seen over the last few days on Digg around the HD-DVD Linux key, it’s nigh impossible to put the geni back in the bottle once the blogosphere has got hold of it. The Digg staff made a good point, they were taking down stories because they were required to, and then – under the pressure of thousands of voices, they’ve stated that hey, there’s not a lot the community owner can do if the community members wants certain information to be available.
More on this later I think… time to go pickup the boys for rugby practice