Military Blocking Access to Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and Gmail for Overseas Troops

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If you have a loved one stationed overseas in the Navy or with the Marines, you can forget about exchanging email with them if they use any of the commercial services such as Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL or Gmail. According to a report in Stars & Stripes, the Navy and Marine Corps have blocked all access to such services from overseas government computers, including those at libraries.

The reason, said Neal Miller, a manager with Naval Network Warfare Command, is that “access to such services leaves the unclassified government network too susceptible to hackers and computer viruses.”

“This concerns us,” said Ciro Giordano, supervisory librarian at Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy, “because so many of our patrons won’t be able to access their e-mail, and many come to the library to do just that.”

While the affected Navy and Marine personnel will still have the use of their .mil military accounts, they do not have the same ready, easy access to those email accounts as they do to the Hotmail, AOL, Gmail and Yahoo accounts, all of which can be accessed with a web browser from any computer connected to the Internet, such as those at libraries.

And the ban doesn’t stop there. Navy and Marine Corps personnel stationed overseas are also now banned from web surfing pornographic or hate sites, and from running an online business.

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All of the restrictions also apply to dependents.

This is the only way I can check my e-mail,” said Navy dependent Patricia R0vito of the computer at the Naples library. Rovito waited ten months to get telephone service and still has no Internet access at home. “This is going to be a pretty sizable hit to morale,” she added.

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The Internet Patrol is and always has been free. We don't hide our articles behind a paywall, or restrict the number of articles you can read in a month if you don't give us money. That said, it does cost us money to run the site, so if something you read here was helpful or useful, won't you consider donating something to help keep the Internet Patrol free?
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17 thoughts on “Military Blocking Access to Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL and Gmail for Overseas Troops

  1. it’s NOT only blocking email servers ! i tried to contact military air force bases to ask for a press pass at their airshow with their CONTACT FORM but even these messages are bounced !
    i went myself to Holloman afb and told the public relation people about the problem.they rolled their eyes but could not give m an answer.
    Staff Sergeant Stacy Jongsgaar said to me : O.K. i’ll give you my personal emailadress ( so you can email me with that one.
    it bloody does’nt work at all ! i even used my very secure personal TELENET.BE email and that also rejected to forward my email.
    this is a terrible obstacle to obtain press credentials and/or information.

  2. Friend has been corresponding with a guy who says he is overseas. They correspond thru a dating website. I keep telling her this does not seem possible/logical to me. Am I correct?

  3. Pertaining to AKO…Not a viable option for those overseas: periodically, the Army also blocks ANY access from overseas that is not a .mil domain. For example, I am in New Zealand, I do not have access to a govt computer, so I cannot even access the AKO website.

  4. Ralph you really need to do ur research if ur so informed. You obviously have no clue other than rumors. If you havent gotten a clue as to what really happened then your not in the position you say you are. None of this is happening like this article is written. We live in a society of paranoid people and bash others due to rumors. Get a clue do a little bit of research and you will see its not all that you say it is or this article. CLUELESS (did i say that already?)

  5. OK people enough is enough. I am a network admistrator for the US government. I started off at the bottom as a desktop technician and worked my way up. I am not a civilian I am military. If you call yourself a network administrator and are sitting there acting like some has really been accomplished other that a large hit to moral by blocking these sites then you should quite your job and think of a career in basket weaving. Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, these sites are some of the better and cleanest on the web. If they truely had the intention of blocking harmful sites then they could have compiled a much better list than this. What it boils down to is someone with a degree in spanish working as a high up decision maker wanted to make a name for themselves. They heard someone say that they recieved a virus from thier hotmail and then decided that everyone that uses hotmail was getting a virus on thier computer. They also figured that if it was true for hotmail or whatever then it must be true for gmail and all the others as well. What it really boils down to is the local network admins probably cannot be relied upon to keep AV signatures and so on up to date and cannot be relied up to run a functional fire wall. I mean good god people surf the web for a few hours and then let me know if these are still the bad sites on the web. These sites probably have the most comprehensive virus scanning in the world. They definately at leats have more practice than even the government at securing email.

  6. I requested knowledge about my military e-mail account, and have yet to receive any info from higher. Maybe the Marine Corps is behind the learing curve. We are not allowed to use the any of our commands computers. Why would they block a grunts use of hotmail? My life is miserable enough without office hobbits making decicions that affect my men and I directly. Oh, and I don’t get the pleasure of living on a FOB with Segovia, or even a real chow hall. Thank you DOD.

  7. Right, Ted. Nothing to do with protecting the network. That’s why I’ve been watching the Yahoo worm alert my anti-virus server regularally.
    Our site doesn’t block those sites, but I frankly think we should. PURELY to protect the network.
    Users still have access to their web based military e-mail account, I use mine all of the time for all e-mail.

    As for one user suggesting using a thumb drive based client, been an ongoing problem with all kinds of software running from thumb drives. I see the logs from the computers. Funny thing: EVERY DAMNED ONE of those machines ends up with worms, virii or malware. It literally has yet to miss ONE system.

    But what do I know, I’m only the network administrator in a middle eastern military base…

  8. Dont think for a minute that this about ‘computer security’. This is about ‘information security’. Look at the recent events that have embarassed the military in Iraq.
    THis is a move to control information.

    BTW Been to Iraq twice and the Navy for mare than a decade


  9. I was in the Army, and all Army personnel including reservists, have access to AKO (Army Knowledgebase Online) which features web-based email. Their dependents can register for an AKO account as well, and they can chat via IM using an AKO client (Yahoo IM and Hotmail IM not allowed).

  10. Those who cannot access email due to this problem would do well to look at iCorr, which is an alternate, spam free secured internet communication system. By its very design, those using iCorr are not affected by the myriad of problems affecting the public email system. Military personnel and their families at home can obtain a free iCorr Light subscription for secured online communications (limited to 5 contacts). Upgrades are available for those who need to communicate with larger groups.

  11. I well remember the letters I got from friends in ‘Nam which had portions of them cut out as a method of censorship & for security reasons. Seems we are somewhat going along the same lines again. Technology or no.

  12. I am suspicious and think the real purpose is to give the Military a better ability to sniff all packets going in and out of service personnel’s and dependents’ email.

  13. This sounds like a job for Poco PE. Poco mail makes a commercial product that fits an entire email client on one of those cheap USB flash drives. It acts just like Outlook Express but NONE of it goes to the computer you are signed on to. You can take it anywhere. I travel all around the country and I can use Poco PE on anyone’s machine and it leaves no footprint at all when I am done. I unplug the drive and all of my mail is safe in my pocket.

  14. I work for on an Air Force base and access to any outside email is blocked. It is considered a security risk to allow users on base to access these accounts. Yes, it’s aggrevating, but it prevents email based worms from getting into our system.

    Also, there is easy access to our .mil addresses from outside the base. It simply requires logging into a secure web site.

  15. Ok, speaking on behalf of the Marine Corps, since I am in the Marine Corps. I have deployed to Iraq twice so far and I have a third tour commng up in Feb. This article is only half true. While it is true that the the USMC, and USN, do block access to commercial e-mail services, this is only on the NIPR (Nonsecure Internet). Most areas in Iraq have a Segovia internet center, which is a civilian internet service provider. The Marines can access their mail through there. Also, these same Marines are givin military e-mail addresses that use Microsoft Outlook.

  16. I realize this sucks for those overseas. I have been there and I know I depended on my hotmail account. But I think your comment Vicki is very unfair and short sighted. Have you ever worked in the systems department trying to keep a computer system clean and running? How many times do you hear “don’t open attachments from some one you don’t know” and yet idtiots still do so and screw everything up. Vicki, if you are one of those that follow the rules, I am truly sorry; you got screwed. But do not blame the government, blame the idiot next to you. Don’t blame a computer network operator in the post-9/11 world, blame your friend that ruined it for you. People didn’t follow the rules…and the privilege went away….it is not tough to figure out!

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