To free up bandwidth that could be better used on Japan’s recovery efforts, the U.S. military network has blocked access to a number of popular websites, including ESPN, Amazon and YouTube.
With phone lines down, the Internet has served as an essential means of communication in Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country last week.
The block is “to make sure bandwidth was available in Japan for military operations,” a military spokesperson said. The Department of Defense’s system-wide prohibition, which went into effect Monday, isn’t related to the content of those sites; it’s been put in place because of the amount of bandwidth they require.
“We are doing this to facilitate the recovery efforts under way in Japan,” the spokesperson said. “We are trying to make sure we are giving them as many avenues and as much support as we can.”
Other blocked sites include Google Video, eBay, Doubleclick, Eyewonder, Pandora, StreamTheWorld, MTV, iFilm, MySpace and Metacafe. The military says that the block is temporary, but more sites may be added or removed from the list as needed.
For more of our coverage on the role of technology and social media in Japan, click here.
Image courtesy of Flickr, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
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