News and social media websites have been blocked on some Pentagon workstations Friday to prevent employees and contractors from accessing classified information that was leaked Thursday about a federal program that gathers Internet users’ personal data from the computer servers of Web service providers.
U.S. Cyber Command recommended the blocking, which began about 11:30 a.m. Friday, a Defense Department source said.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper late Thursday posted elements from a slideshow presentation about the top secret program called Prism.
Classified material is permitted to be viewed only on specially designated computers and networks to prevent “spillage” of confidential data. Non-designated computers affected by spillage must be shut down and wiped clean.
“ALL News sources will be BLOCKED (temporarily) based on the recommendation from US Cyber Command (USCC)…to restrict access to news sites as they are currently displaying classified information (the NSA files),” said an email issued to employees of one Pentagon agency.
“This is in keeping with current USCYBERCOM guidance to not access news websites displaying classified information,” it said.