back to article Anti-social media in defence a token of chronic stupidity

First, for those of you not in Australia, a précis of a tawdry little tale. The Australian Defence Force found itself in the headlines for the wrong reasons when a young female member of the ADF Academy went public after having sex with a fellow cadet, only to find out later that he used a webcam and Skype to broadcast the …


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  1. John Whitehead
    Thumb Down

    That Churchill quote...

    is "rum, sodomy and the lash". Best to get it right...

    1. Richard Chirgwin (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: That Churchill quote...

      Interestingly, not only do I see both "sodomy" and "buggery" given in various places, I also see claims that Churchill never said either (but wished he had)! - RC

      1. Sabine Miehlbradt


        What does the RC mean?

        Radio controlled by Sarah?

        1. Code Monkey


          The author's name: Richard Chirgwin?

  2. SkippyBing

    Public ISP?

    Not sure how the ADF Academy runs but in the UK most military bases allow you to connect directly to the civilian internet from the accommodation. Generally you either pay for the phone line, broadband etc. or have some form of wi-fi running through the block with a subscription service which again is completely separate from the MoD's own network connection.

    In other words it's no business of the UK MoD what you do on the internet in the privacy of your own room*.

    If that's also the case in the ADF Academy then it's no business of the ADF what people do with their own personal computers. I.e. there's no reason not to have Skype etc. on the flip side there's probably a charge of bringing the service into disrepute to be answered.

    *Ok so selling details of aircraft movements to the Libyans is probably a bad idea but you know what I mean.

  3. Bumpy Cat
    Thumb Down

    It's called trust

    The ADF have behaved in a pretty disgraceful manner here, but I really have to disagree with your logic. Why shouldn't soldiers have access to social media? To turn your argument about "rum, sodomy and the lash" around, this isn't the 19th century, it's the 21st. People expect to be able to communicate with family and friends just like everyone else. By that same logic, things like smartphones, or even phones with cameras, should be banned; computers and cameras too, since anyone could use a USB wireless internet connection. Your logic doesn't hold up.

    Speaking from personal experience, the MoD and UK Armed Forces have a much more mature view of this. You are entitled to use any computer equipment and social media that you like. You are given extensive, twice-yearly briefings on how to avoid screwing up and risking lives or secrets on social media. And, finally, you are crucified if you are stupid enough to actually risk lives or secrets.

    I have given some of the lessons on data security to people under my command, and have helped clean up one release of data. Again, your case doesn't really hold up.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Fratting is a sin

    Folly was not her "only sin". She is a cadet, he is a cadet. It is forbidden by ADF rules for there to be any fraternisation, a long-standing joke because cadets have always had sex with each other. Regardless, they're trotting that one out to try and shut her up.

    Typical ADF tradition; you can be robbed on base, you can be beaten, you be assaulted, you can be raped, you can be illegally recorded and broadcast, but god help you if you go public, then all of a sudden YOU are the one who gets punished. Keep it quiet, keep it internal, cover it up.

    anon due to ADF work

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    XSSXXXX Virgins, Real and Virtual, are the Weakest Soft Link in Every Chain of Command Control/SCADA

    "The ADF doesn’t just have chronic cultural problems. It’s got a chronic IQ problem. " ...... And also an absent leadership problem.

    Its a zeroday vulnerability exploiters/penetrations betatesters, dream environment ....... for can you imagine the pleasures in the testing fields?

  6. david 12 Silver badge


    Dunno about the Army, but the Navy seems to think that it is appropriate to treat all members exactly the same, regardless of gender.

    Which is to say, they seem to be stuck in the 1970's.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    To be honest,..

    she's only guilty of poor personal judgement. Methinks the guy should have had the disciplinary charges brought against him for bringing the service into disrepute, as this sort of frat prank is fine in an american movie but poison in a closed military environment that requires a high degree of trust and professionalism.

    Sheila, (for that's probably her name) should cut her losses and leave, because she will now always be known as the girl who got caught on camera shagging.

    And also, lets check the pedigree of the guy; this smacks of more than mild sexism, its probably cronyism - who is his dad and does dad hold a high rank in the services?

  8. Anonymous Coward

    ADFA, a local view

    I grew up in Canberra (where ADFA is), and the cadets have *always* been considered a group to give an *extremely* wide berth. Mooseheads pub in Civic has been their traditional haunt, and has therefore been the site of all kinds of unpleasantness (the least harmful is the traditional "performance" during "Eagle Rock" [ ] - how the female cadets behave is beyond me, owing to their lack of testicles).

    I used to know a woman who worked as a driver for the ADF. She commented that ADFA had a remarkable ability to take in a new group of charming, intelligent, and polite young men; and change them into complete w*nkers, within 8 weeks (the duration of initial training).

    You can just walk on to the ADFA campus. It's essentially a campus of the University of NSW, plus some other bits (the "military" building - not too secure either). I believe the intention of ADFA has always been to make it more like a university, and less like a military base.

    I once had a casual job out at ADFA (on the "military" side, not he "uni" side), and was lost. I wandered into the gun locker/vault (basement, "military" building) looking for something, and found a very bored cadet keeping shop, handing me guns (working, but without ammunition). I was quite surprised. He apologised that he had no rifles to show off, because they were out on some excercise...

  9. Winkypop Silver badge


    I don't think they saw that coming....oh wait the did.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward



  11. Owen Carter

    institutional autism

    "acted as if it has institutional autism."

    A sweeping generalisation of Autism sufferers the ADF bullies would be proud of..

    'Instutional ADHD' is more like it.. Those who display the Attention Deficit Disorder aspects of the Autism spectrum have a greater likelihood of being bullies; those who do not, esp. those on the Aspergers side, have a greater chance of being victims.

    But consider that true bullies are getting a kick out of the pain, fear and reactions of their victims. It's why they bully; seeing the victim suffer is what gives them a stiffy. The more they can understand the emotions and behaviours of your victims, the greater the pleasure..

    - Which kinda means that Autistic people, who by definition have reduced ability to understand other peoples emotions, will never match the bullying potential of more highly developed social performers.

    1. Throatwobbler Mangrove


      or better still, let's just drop the use of autism as a simile or metaphor for institutions' behaviour because it's rubbish.

  12. Sam Therapy

    Institutional stupidity

    Much better, IMO.

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