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Wartime Wireless Worries Pentagon

The rapid proliferation of digital cameras, phonecams and wireless gadgets among soldiers and military contractors is giving senior military officials concern, in the wake of images that showed abuse in an Iraqi prison and snapshots that showed rows of coffins of American soldiers. The Defense Department said it hasn’t banned the devices and doesn’t plan to — as the Business Times of London and two wire services have reported. But the Pentagon is telling commanders in the field to strictly monitor the use of consumer wireless technology through Directive 8100.2 — Use of Commercial Wireless Devices, Services and Technologies in the Department of Defense Global Information Grid — issued last month. “We’re in the situation today where everyone is using a cell phone, BlackBerry or some sort of wireless device that can be carrying voice, imagery or text — and we either need that to be highly encrypted, or off of DOD systems altogether,” said Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Ken McClellan. “We don’t want to be in a situation where anyone with a scanner can figure what we’re about to do.” In a nutshell, the directive tells all soldiers, contractors and visitors to Defense Department facilities that they can only carry wireless devices that conform to the military’s security standards. These specify that the devices use strong authentication and encryption technologies whenever possible. In addition, the devices cannot be used for storing or transmitting classified information. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz signed it in April after two years of internal debate. Full Story

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