Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

U.S. Air Force blocks blogs

The First Amendment does not give you the right to yell, “Fire!” in a crowded theater. It does not protect you from prosecution if you use “hate speech”. Threatening to harm or kill someone — even in jest, or said when drunk out of your mind — is a felony (4 yrs.) called “terrorist threats”, and if said by a man to woman, will be vigorously prosecuted. Uttering a racial epitaph can result in severe bodily injury or death.
We Americans cannot say whatever we want, whenever we want– First Amendment or no.

We have much more freedom when it comes to reading. (Which implies that we can print more than we can say, btw.) Sure, we might not find the book and magazines we’re interested in on the shelves of our public library. We might have to go into special, “adults only” bookstores. We might have to ‘subscribe’, and have our ‘literature’ sent to us in the mail.
Or, we might have to search the Web.

The Internet has literally billions of published pages (on a million topics) and, as I mentioned in my article on “Web 2.0”, practically anyone can publish them. If you wanted, you could create and host a website (or use the free one your ISP gives you); you could post a blog; you could post your thoughts and pictures on MySpace or Facebook ect., et al, and so forth and so on. And.. you can say pretty much anything (there’s very little oversight).
I could be typing my Great-Aunt Elsie’s dill pickle recipe, or blathering about the S.F. Giants’ chances now that Bonds is gone… or, disclosing secret tricks for getting away with going A.W.O.L. from your Air Force base.
That’s why I’m glad* the Air Force has decided to block blogs. (Click the link for details.)

Now… I don’t know if the Air Force’s policy prevents personnel from viewing Tech–for Everyone or not (frankly, I don’t know that any member of our Armed Forces has ever visited my humble site). The articles I read indicate that the filter used blocks all sites with the word “blog” in the URL, which my URL does not have. I do not want you to think I’m writing this article because I have been “blocked” and I’m sore about it.. I simply don’t know that to be the case.
I just don’t think all blogs are “bad”, and I am concerned by blanket blacklisting.

But I’m willing to concede that there are plenty of blogs that people should simply ignore.
I am willing to concede that there are.. policies that should be applied to members of our government, justice system, and armed forces that don’t need to be applied to civilians (particularly in areas involving national security).
There are merits on both sides of the censorship argument.. what is the “right thing” to do?

Personally, I have faith in the caliber of individuals serving in the Armed Forces and I feel that they should have access to information. I believe they are smart enough to discern the “legitimate” from some kook’s rantings.. and don’t need some mechanical blinders put in place.

I would like very much if you folks who read this, and either are in the Armed Forces, or who have loved ones serving (and this has affected them), would post a comment in my Comments box and share with us what you think of this restrictive action by the Air Force. Does this help you do your job?
(Actually, all are welcome to comment!)

*Sarcasm.

Today’s free link: I have posted this one before, but I really think it is worth posting again. If you carry any sensitive data on your thumb-drive (logins for example), you really should encrypt it. TrueCrypt simply is the best free data encryption tool that I know of. Encrypt any folder or partition (“drive”), including your boot (C:). TrueCrypt works with Windows, Apple OSX, and Linux.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.

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February 29, 2008 Posted by | computers, encrypting files, hardware, tech | , , , , , | 5 Comments