US admits to blocking The Guardian website after reporting Snowden Prism story
In ironic contrast to its proclaimed national stance on freedom of speech, the US has admitted that it has blocked servers to The Guardian newspaper, which is working with private security contractor Edward Snowden to report the Prism data spying revelations. The US army has admitted restricting access to the site to its personnel. It says it has done so to preserve “network hygiene.” In 2009 US resident Barack Obama criticised internet censorship in China, and told students in Shanghia that the USA regarded such liberties as universal values. "I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable," Obama said. "They can begin to think for themselves." A US Government spokesperson has confirmed that the US military is currrently filtering out reports and content on government surveillance in the wake of the Prism revelations. The Monterey Herald reported that staff at San Francisco’s Presidio military base could not access the Guardian since publication of Edward Snowden’s leaks. "In response to your question about access to the guardian.co.uk website, the army is filtering some access to press coverage and online content about the NSA leaks," said Gordon Van Vleet, a “public affairs officer for the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command (Netcom). "The Department of Defense routinely takes preventative 'network hygiene' measures to mitigate unauthorized disclosures of classified information onto DoD unclassified networks. "The department does not determine what sites its personnel can choose to visit while on a DoD system, but instead relies on automated filters that restrict access based on content concerns or malware threats. "The DoD is also not going to block websites from the American public in general, and to do so would violate our highest-held principle of upholding and defending the constitution and respecting civil liberties and privacy. "Until declassified by appropriate officials, classified information – including material released through an unauthorized disclosure – must be treated accordingly by DoD personnel. If a public website displays classified information, then filtering may be used to preserve 'network hygiene' for DoD unclassified networks."