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article imageYouTube Will Fight U.S. Military Block

By Chris V. Thangham     May 18, 2007 in Politics
Chad Hurley says YouTube will fight US Military for banning its channel.
On Monday, the US Department of Defense announced they will block YouTube, MySpace, Hi5, and other Social Networking sites, they cited bandwidth concerns:This is a bandwidth and network management issue. We’ve got to have the networks open to do our mission. They have to be reliable, timely and secure". The reaction has been varied in the blogs because of this move by the U.S. Department of Defense. Some were totally against and some said it may be the right thing. A few were hilarious, one from a Digg User: “How can expect ANYONE to be away from YouTube for 3 years and then reintegrate into society?” since many are teens in the Digg site.
YouTube is not willing to accept the ban without a fight; YouTube told AP that they will challenge the Defense Department. Chad Hurley, YouTube CEO said, watching videos via the office does use bandwidth and can slow or tie up the network but doubts it will have any real effect on the military’s massive network. In fact, the US Department of Defense have the largest computer network in the world, so this excuse of bandwidth doesn’t sound right.
Hurley joked also since the Defense Department invented the Internet, bandwidth shouldn’t be an issue. He vowed to work with the military to find out what is the real problem so the soldiers can watch YouTube site. He and CTO Steve Chen (joint founder of YouTube) believes the content issue may be the real cause for the ban not the bandwidth problems. YouTube already has policies about violence and remove any graphic videos uploaded from Iraq, Afghanistan. They will be willing to work with Pentagon and if any controls are necessary to bring the site back up.
"We want to protect the [YouTube] community from being exposed to something violent, but at the same time, we want to educate people on what's happening around the world," Hurley said. "It's hard for us."
Chad Hurley and YouTube are puzzled by the Defense move, since a few weeks ago Pentagon started their own “boots-on-the-ground” YouTube channel to present their own combat videos. So YouTube is baffled with the contradiction, if they ban YouTube, who in the military will be able to watch this Defense channel?
The military is an employer; the employer chooses what is best for his or her company. They can ban it during the office hours, but they cannot ban after office hours. The military should have a compromise. YouTube can fight it, but the Defense has a larger say, even if they agree, YouTube will have to make a lot of concessions which will not be possible if they want to satisfy their larger audience.
What do you think about the US military ban on YouTube and other social networking sites? Are you with the US military or you with YouTube on this ban issue?
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