Tatum Lytle has produced an excellent article (subscription required for this link, but can also be found here) about the manner in which the US (and one would assume other administrations to have done the same) military has censored and stopped a number of US military personnel from blogging about their experiences in Iraq and other theatres of war. Such a move is hardly surprising. After all there are a number of unique reasons why giving too much information away. Placing too much information in the hands of the enemy can endanger lives and create unnecessary risks. However the military appear to have gone further than simply shutting down blogs that contain too much operational information. The article suggests that there are a number of instances where the rights of the individual of free speech has been violated; and this has often been with the support of the US judicial system.
What Lytle does well is build her case based on a very detailed understanding of the ways soldiers are using blogs and of the way the military and the courts are prosecuting adherence to rules and regulations. What would be of interest is to find out where she comes from in terms of philosophical underpinning. Lytle appears to accept that the US courts are the final umpire and the precedents they set therefore become the final arbiter of the issue. I think Lytle could have helped the issue further by addressing more fundamental issues of humanity and the rights to personal sovereignty. Does the US military, or a any corporation or organisation for that matter, have the right to control the free speech of a human. How does this control come about? These are matters probably not within the scope of Lytle’s article but would make for interesting research nonetheless.
A soldier’s blog: balancing service members’ personal rights vs. national security interests
Lytle, Tatum H. Federal Communications Law Journal • June, 2007