Does NMCI Filter

by Joshua Foust on 4/21/2007 · 3 comments

Back in October, the brilliant Wonkette learned they were blocked by the U.S. military forces in Iraq. It’s not uncommon for the military to enact domain blocking, even comparatively strict blocking, for soldiers in a warzone. And, even though I disagree with it, I can understand the logic of blocking the occasionally anti-military Wonkette, even when they’re just just joking (which is always).

The other day, one of my friends in the USMC tried to access this site, and informed me NMCI, the under-designed, $10 billion Navy Marine Corps Intranet, “blocked” When I asked for clarification, he responded that it is overly restrictive of some sites depending on “media used.” I’m not sure what that means (I’d assume keywords), but I suspect it’s a way of saying a lot of websites, including perhaps blogs on sensitive topics like military policy in war zones, are monitored.

A bit of Googling revealed that even the crazy right wingers at WorldNetDaily were blocked at one point, though they successfully lobbied to have the block removed. There are also reports of NMCI blocking criticism of itself and also blocking Google Cache. So a block on certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented, though I am unsure why we would warrant censorship—though both Nathan and I are quite critical of U.S. policy in the region (and in my case, specifically in Afghanistan), we are critical out of a desire to improve it, to make it a success. We want them to succeed, and that includes pointing out mistakes or misjudgments in the hopes of not repeating them.

So, is there some way of confirming NMCI’s block, perhaps from some returned Marines who read this site? I know there are a few of you—can you (or anyone who would know how to find out for sure) help us out?

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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Network User April 21, 2007 at 3:26 pm

NMCI is a official military network, Any unofficial activity may be blocked. This site is not targeted.

Former Network User April 21, 2007 at 4:25 pm

I used to have a civilian job with the Marines and I accessed this site at least weekly on NMCI with no problems. NMCI has innumberable faults, but targeted filtering of Registan is not one of them as far as I know.

Joshua Foust April 21, 2007 at 5:40 pm

I appreciate both of your comments. To address the current network user, is accessing political weblogs considered “unofficial?” I would assume it is, hence why Wonkette was filtered. How granular is access to blacklists? Are they centrally maintained, or would, say, Quantico have a different set of restrictions than Paris Island or Annapolis? How often are they updated? How do the blacklists work? If they are IP blocks, known webhosts, or certain ISPs, wouldn’t have to be mentioned by name to still be restricted.

To address the Former Network User, how long ago could you access us?

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