The U.S. Cyber Command installed a partial web-block on some commercial websites that use “extraordinary bandwidth,” a Cyber Command spokesman said Thursday. The cyber-ban was at the request of the U.S. Pacific Command, which wanted to insure that bandwidth was available for military operations.
The spokesman told the National Journal that commercial websites that are notorious for bandwidth use, like YouTube, ESPN, and other “recreational websites…that have a low mission impact” were targeted. The cyber-block is regional and only effects the jurisdiction of the Pacific Command.
The U.S. military aid mission to Japan reported in a blog that phone and internet connectivity were sporadic. The forward staging base for relief operations, located at Misawa Air Base, reported in a blog post Friday that the Defense Switched Network was having “a number of connectivity issues. Internet has been up and down due to our connections through other places in Japan.”
Relief operations require extra bandwidth at exactly the time when the communications infrastructure is damaged. Also, it is also exactly the time when viewers use up the bandwidth watching streaming video of the disaster.
The social-media websites are not blocked.
ESPN, Amazon, YouTube,Google Video, eBay, Doubleclick, Eyewonder, Pandora, StreamTheWorld, MTV, iFilm, MySpace and Metacafe are blocked. Personnel see a red screen saying “Website Blocked.”
“This action is in no way a reflection on any specific site or the content of any specific site; the action is in response to the needs of the military in a time of extreme demand on all circuits and networks in a region of the world that has been devastated by geological activity,” said a statement from U.S. Cyber Command.