Facebook in threat to national security

The stuffed shirts in the UK's Government Services believe that the Facebook Generation doesn't understand that secrets are supposed to be secret.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

When power is given to those who routinely post online pictures of themselves wearing nothing but a garland of ivy and a beer stain, bad things must follow.

I am moved to the point of jiggery by a report authored by the esteemed Sir Edmund Bunton (in the UK, only Sirs or Ladys can author reports).

Sir Edward, no relation, as far as I can tell, to Emma 'Baby Spice' Bunton, is the Chairman of the Information Advisory Council. And his problem is that he fears he has hired a bunch of Facebook-forward netwackos into the UK's Ministry of Defense.

Apparently these netwackos are dripping in a culture of "rapid and often uninhibited exchange of information."

Well, naturally. How else are you going to pick a member of your target sex up online? I mean, Sir Edward, you no doubt met girls (or 'gels' as a stiff upper lip would have them) at the Conservative Party's rather aptly named Blue Ball.

But, just as with admission to Sirhood, Blue Ball entry is not open to everyone.

So the rest of us expose ourselves online in the hope that someone will want to be seen with us. Virtually or otherwise.

Sir Edmund's logic is a little on the fanciful side, if I may be so bold.

He believes that the greater openness exhibited by dangerous young people online leads them to leave Ministry of Defense laptops in their cars overnight.

You see, there appear to be fifty-five laptops in the United Kingdom containing sensitive Ministry of Defense information.

Joe Shlabotnik

Four have been nicked, as they say over there, from parked cars.

One assumes each of these cars belonged to a young Ministry employee.

I suspect that you might have already come to the same conclusion as I. Why on earth were these presumably junior employees given terribly important laptops?

Could it be that no one over thirty in the Ministry knows, um, how to turn one on?

Perhaps the Ministry has not availed itself of MacAirs, so their darned PCs are too heavy to be carried by someone of senior rank and golfswing lumbago.

Truly, is there any evidence that prolonged and repeated exposure to Facebook leads you to become less security conscious?

I find everyone pretty neurotic on the subject these days, but that might reflect the sad circles within which I travel socially.

Sir Edmund, bypassing the thought that he is simply hiring substandard specimens, is convinced something needs to be done.

While lamenting the passing of the Cold War (I am not kidding), because in those days we really understood the meaning of security, he has a solution for the troubling Facebook Generation laptop-losing, secrets-abusing phenomenon.

He wants to create "a coherent system of censure and punishment."

Quite right.

It is my strong belief that the Ministry of Defense should force these dreadful miscreants to undress and be photographed in repeated humiliating positions (with and without laptop).

These photographs should then be posted online for the whole world to see. On the Ministry's new site, FaceTheMusicBook.com.

Oh, wait. Getting folks to undress and be photographed in humiliating positions? It sounds good. But it's not really worked for the military folks up till now.

And, well, those Facebook netwackos, well, they're weird. They might like it.

Which just leaves lashes with the cat o' nine tails, I suppose. That, they are bound to understand.