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[ISN] DOD considers prohibiting personal use of networks


By John Rendleman
January 28, 2008

The Defense Department is considering a policy that would banish all 
traffic not proven to be purely official DOD business from its networks, 
said Lt. Gen. Charles Croom, director of the Defense Information Systems 
Agency, last week at the Institute for Defense and Government 
Advancements Network Centric Warfare 2008 conference in Washington.

The proposal to ban non-official traffic from the network is intended to 
increase the networks security and stability by reducing the number of 
times malicious software code enters DOD networks, Croom said.

DODs consideration of the proposal, however, is in the preliminary 
stages, and its too early to predict if the department will proceed with 
the idea, Croom said. The rationale for radically revamping DODs network 
usage policies is to find the right balance between encouraging 
communications and innovation by allowing users to freely share 
information, while also protecting the security and integrity of DOD 
systems and information by banning potentially harmful traffic.

In practical terms, the rules are intended to eliminate traffic thats 
entering DOD networks as employees surf Web sites that arent expressly 
banned or blocked but that would be difficult to justify as necessary 
purely for official business, Croom said. DOD hasnt yet calculated what 
percentage of the traffic on its networks now violates the rules, he 
said. Unofficial early estimates, however, are that 70 percent of the 
traffic on DOD networks today is unofficial and would be banned, said 
sources close to the department.

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