No Blogs for the Air Force – For Now

Chair Force, er, Air Force personnel are prevented from visiting blogs, it turns out – or, at least, certain ones that are really obviously blogs, anyway. There are no doubt many good reasons for this – and just as many reasons why it’s a bad idea, as well.

It looks, from comments, like they’re blocking some domains – Blogger and Blogspot, for example – but also using some sort of (barely) “intelligent” filtering to identify blogs – or at least bloglike pages. I suspect this is being done by examining the HTML code of each page viewed; code produced by popular blogging platforms contains distinctive fingerprints that is easily identifiable – such as the “meta name=”generator” content=”WordPress 2.2″ />” code, or links to someurl/wp-content/something, for instance.

This leads me to an interesting idea – if your domain isn’t being blocked, per se – but your pages are – people behind these sorts of “intelligent” filters should still be able to view your blog if the filter or proxy can’t read the site, because it won’t be able to tell that your site is based on a popular CMS to which it has taken a dislike. Simple, really…

Well, not quite, but close. What you need to do is provide SSL support for your website – which means you need to be hosted on your own server (be it a dedicated server, or virtual private server) or, at the bare minimum, have your own IP address. Spend $15 on an SSL certificate, set it up, and your readers should be able to visit your site without any sort of monitoring application being able to tell what, exactly, is being viewed. (Aside from getting around not-very-intelligent filters, this could also be a good way for people to safely view “objectionable” – i.e. “not safe for work” – material without their IT-department overlords being any wiser.) Encrypting your connection when you write or edit posts could provide a welcome degree of privacy – or at least deniability – should you be in one of those places where internet connections are subject to rather draconian monitoring. So, everyone wins, really.

I’m not sure it’s a perfect idea, but nobody seems to talk about running blogs via HTTPS much; perhaps it’s time to kick-start the conversation?

Published in: Geekiness, General, Security | on February 28th, 2008| 1 Comment »

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One Comment

  1. On 3/1/2008 at 6:22 am Thomas Jackson Said:

    Good Grief, this story or the issue of Air Force blocking blogs just made it to the Coast Guard end of the blogosphere. At our end of internet, we have not all been blocked as of yet, but rumblings inside Coast Guard Headquarters point in that direction. We have uncovered what has been labeled the “ugly underbelly� of the Coast Guard and report on issues they sooner not have discussed. Of the three main blogs, CoastGuardReport.org, and two others we take on issues that otherwise would not be discussed at the level and with the sources inside the Coast Guard we use.
    As the Coast Guard tries to come to grips with its new and increased missions since 911, along with its increased funding, we have much to report on. From the failed 27 billion dollar acquisition portfolio to upgrade the Coast Guard’s aged and deteriorating fleet of ships and aircraft, to a base infrastructure that is largely made up of base hand-me-downs from the other services, they have much to do. Coast Guards 27 billion dollar acquisition portfolio is still being managed today by an Admiral with ZERO professional acquisition training, qualifications or certifications. Why the congress let alone the Commandant of the Coast Guard don’t tackle that easy fix is beyond anything anyone outside the Coast Guard can fathom.
    Good Luck Bloggers!