Free your mind

Recently, a bit of fuss has been made about Sprint (3G) IP addresses resolving to or connecting to the Department of Defense.  That's good fuss, but it's easy to understand why there's no real need to worry, even if we can't or don't know the whole story.  And let's face it -- it's the U.S. Government, so we probably won't know the whole story here.  Here's quick look at a few things that can put your mind at ease.

First things first -- the government probably can tell what you're doing on the Internet any time it wants to.  As long as this "power" isn't abused (and abuse can be defined an infinte number of ways, right?), most of us won't complain.  If the government can't tap right in to your traffic, it can just get it from your carrier (all carriers, not just Sprint), or from your ISP if you're using the computer in your house.

It's a huge debate, but the powers-that-be have decided that it's in the best interests of national (and your own) security.  Even Google had to give up information about the Wikileaks documents recently, because that's the law.  Google expressed its displeasure at the law, but it had to release the info.  Same goes for Verizon, or AT&T, or Comcast.  Debate it to your hearts content in the comments, but that's the way it is.  Things in other countries are different, but in the U.S. we're bound by the law of the land, and so is any company that provides you access to the Internet.

Now to get specific with Sprint, and explain why some folks have 3G IP addresses that resolve to the DoD.  Guess who provides voice, data, and other services to a large portion of the Defense Department?  You guessed it -- Sprint.  Direct from their website:

Sprint Government Systems Division (GSD) has been working with Defense agencies for years to provide solutions that can meet their critical communications requirements. Along with integrated voice, data, and video solutions, Sprint is a leader in cutting-edge technologies...

Sprint is the full service provider to Navy/Marine Corps organizations in CONUS and overseas.

Sprint has been contracting with the DoD for years.  And lest we forget -- the DoD helped Al Gore invent the Internet, and a huge portion of traffic goes through relays and is routed through government machines -- including the DoD's.  There is no need to get alarmed if you see traffic being sent to, or coming from, the DoD.  Even if they are spying on you, they don't care that you're downloading the latest Black Eyed Peas track without paying for it.  Old timers will remember going through all this fuss back six or seven years ago when P2P downloading became popular, and government computers started showing as peers.  Unless you're plotting something you shouldn't be, you can stop worrying.

Let me wrap up by saying that, yes, you should ask around if you see U.S. Government networks (or any government) apparently connected to your smartphone.  It's our responsibility as good citizens to police our government and express displeasure at any actions we don't like.  This article is meant as information, and not to belittle or mock anyone.

That said: