US military says it will discipline Ashley Madison users

Conduct unbecoming of a gentleman/woman

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US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has said the military will investigate email addresses signed up to the Ashley Madison website to determine if improper conduct has taken place.

Military.com reports Carter saying "Yes, the services are looking into it, as well they should be. Of course it's an issue because conduct is very important."

Adultery is considered an offense under the US Uniform Code of Military Justice and is punishable by anything from a black mark on one's record to dishonorable dismissal from the services. Traditionally women have had a tougher time of it under military courts, but given the sex imbalance of the website, it'll be enlisted men who bear the brunt of any investigation.

This is the first time a member of the federal government has commented on the implications of the hack, which saw the details of 36 million users of the website published online by a group calling itself the Impact Team.

Several thousand military email addresses turned up in the first download from the hacking group, and although none are provable and many are clearly bogus, it does appear that a hunt is going to be mounted within military ranks.

The move could have an effect on how companies are going to handle the information. According to the released database, IBM leads the tech firms in email addresses used to sign up, followed by HP (although employees have a lot of misery to deal with at the moment), followed by Cisco. None of the companies contacted by The Register had any comment on the matter.

There's no real reason why they should, as long as the company hasn't been brought into disrepute over affairs. But nevertheless the lawyers are circling, and many organizations may choose to chuck some members under the bus rather than risk litigation. ®

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