TroopTube: YouTube For Military And Families
TroopTube is the U.S. military's answer to YouTube; the goal is to provide soldiers and their families with a way to communicate in a secure way.
All videos placed on TroopTube will be screened by the Pentagon to make sure that no copy-protected material or material that might threaten national security is posted. YouTube is just one of the many websites that the military has blocked to try to improve security.
(Sample videos available on TroopTube)
The military has always tried to support the families of the troops, but the current fascination with social networking tools like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter has left the military in catch-up mode.
Science fiction fans may recall a similar incident in Star Trek: Voyager. In the series, the crew are stuck in Delta Quadrant 75,000 light years from Earth; now, that's a long way from home. In one episode, they are excited to learn of the remarkable Hirogen transmission arrays, which are powered by miniature black holes. Over a period of time, the crew begins to catch up with the doings of family members.
(Hirogen Communications Network)
At some point, the Hirogen demand that they stop using their official network, and attack the Voyager. During the resulting exchange, an antithoron burst initiates a sequence that takes down the entire network.
It turns out that one of the reasons the U.S. military is concerned about the use of YouTube and similar sites by the troops is that they put an undue burden on their internet capacity.
I don't know what kind of services the military sets up for families on a regular basis; here's another science-fictional example from the Transformers movie. One of the soldiers sees his wife and daughter. I don't know if this is a commonplace scene; maybe readers in the military can let us know.
(Connecting troops and families in fiction)
From the Guardian and Trooptube.tv; thanks again to the wonderful Moira for supplying the tip and the reference.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/13/2008)
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