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British servicemen and women are being warned off social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. Advice circulated in mid-October warned service staff not to post "your service connections on chatroom and dating sites". Military bosses are worried that terrorists will use social networking sites to identify and target …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    I would've thought that that would be part of any fairly standard security briefing. Along with 'don't take your british DPMs gear abroad', 'cover your rank tabs when not on base' and 'don't shout ranks across the pub to each other'. Advertising the fact that you're in the military to the entire world + posting your address and pictures of the kids online is just ridiculous

  2. Mike

    Re: Duh

    Yup, standard security briefing, because people are stupid and they actually do this.

    There's some great American groups where people boast about their M16s and AKs, then tell people where they live and when they'll be on holiday.

  3. Matthew Hale


    ....the kind of people who use this kind of sad attention seeking crap deserve everything they get...pfft...our military need to be _told_ the risks?!?! OMFG help us all...

    If I ever fancied a new identity or wanted to profile someone for a social engineering scam myspace and facebook would be great starting points.

    WHY are people so desperate for validation they are willing to post all this personal crap to some web site?! WHY?!?

  4. Nile Heffernan

    No, they are pefectly civil about it

    Admittedly, there are some dim squaddies, but this is the usual bureaucratese for "We're frightened of blogs and online communities because you'll be terribly rude about us". This isn't so very different to any major civilian corporation.

    But, being the military, they can invoke security concerns: sometimes they are convincing, sometimes not. And you can bet that some web-savvy Para with a load of gripes about equipment - but no identifying data in his profile - will be found and disciplined a lot faster than a genuine security risk who lists his name, his unit, their dependents' addresses and his movements for the last six months.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can see why the Army doesn't want this

    Name: Thomas Atkins

    Age: 19

    Location: Basra

    Currently I'm: Trying to put my intestines back into my chest

    Current mood: owowowowow :(

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    LCpl Thomas Atkins is not so stupid as to try & and put his intestines back into his chest

    well not unless he's an officer or in the intelligence corps


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "WHY are people so desperate for validation they are willing to post all this personal crap to some web site?! WHY?!?"

    From my perspective it's for the same reason as FriendsReunited was so popular, before the restriction on contact details for free accounts killed it. It's not about needing validation, it's about getting back - and keeping - in touch.

    Last weekend I managed to get back into contact with two close, old friends with whom I'd fallen out of touch fifteen years ago, for various very good reasons. I for one am delighted.

    Facebook offers a relatively safe and controlled way to get back in touch with old acquaintances, but like any security tool you need to make sure that it's properly configured.

    Use of contact details is charge-free, optional, and can be restricted to confirmed friends only, so you get to weed out any crazies before letting them know where to find you. Long published lists of favourite music, films, etc provide points of (hopefully) common reference, and conversation starters.

    All those add-ins aren't really my cup of tea, but it's called "playing". Friends are known to do that. You know. For fun.

    Ok, so I'm rambling on a lot, but let me share one last thing with you: I recently lost my last chance to talk with another old friend. I was shy of the relative fame she'd earned since we last spoke, and kept putting off the phone call, never believing the worst would happen. Joke's on me, because it did; people that young do still die, the big killer diseases we grew up with haven't gone away. By the time I realised that I needed to get in touch *now*, it was too late - it would have been an invasion of privacy.

    "...blahblahblah, so that's what I'm up to, I hear you're dying slowly of cancer, how's that working out for you? Fancy meeting up - just us, spouses & kids?"

    Carrie couldn't have successfully held a Facebook account in her position, but if a quick poke & e-message had been an option then I'm pretty sure I'd have taken it.

    So that's why I jumped at last weekend's opportunity. And as long as the information security is solid, I can't honestly see how anyone can justifiably criticise something that brings people together.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    @ Anon Coward.

    "Ok, so I'm rambling on a lot...."

    Yes you are.

  9. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    @Nile Heffernan

    "This isn't so very different to any major civilian corporation"

    Sure it's not - it's only that with major civilian corporations there's no little side possibility of being killed for it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Whoops that dosen't bode well for

    Capt Perkins

    2 Para

  11. Steve Renouf

    See... They are stupid!


    Currently I'm: Trying to put my intestines back into my chest


    See, they're that stupid, they even think their intestines are in their chest! I'd hate to think where their lungs and heart are in that case!!

    Of course, as _we_ all know, the intestines are below the diaphragm - in the belly - along with the stomache and bowel

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