Two Ashley Madison accounts for reality TV's Josh Duggar?

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I am disappointed in this post, Jason. It doesn’t matter whether or not the person is despicable (and the Duggars are), a privacy breach is still a violation that should not be re-broadcasted. Don’t get into the business of deciding who is deserving of doxxing and who is deserving of privacy.


it is interesting that the tech and culture blogs who normally are all pitchforks-and-torches about personal privacy are all frothing at the mouth to be the first to display people’s info from this breach…


Shouldn’t Duggar have had nineteen accounts and counting?


Duggar was an executive chairman of the Family Research Council at the time, a vocal, well-funded and genuinely nasty group dedicated to demonizing homosexuality, divorce, pornography, even STD vaccination. That Duggar had Ashley Madison accounts makes that specific aspect of his private life of fair public interest – in the same way that his sexual abuse of children makes that specific aspect of his private life of fair public interest, too.

Cosby hasn’t been convicted of any crime. But all have agreed, because of things that people have exposed about his private life, that Bill Cosby’s privacy can go fuck itself.

Josh Duggar raped his sister and built a public life around the condemnation of others’ sexual behavior. Can we not also say “fuck his privacy”—at least in respect to this behavior?

Our new consciousness and defense of privacy is understandable and desirable, given what is done to people online who are obviously not deserving targets, who are simply being harassed and tortured by the mob—or simply machined into the social graph by technology. But to extend this to an inflexible hardline, applicable to all, means the Duggars get to keep their little secrets–and their power.

Journalists, reporters, bloggers – we’re definitively in the business of making judgments about the privacy of subjects. You get to judge how appropriate they are. Due to his power, influence, past sexual abuse and the machinery of bullshit trying to pull him out of the fire (People ran a fluffy profile of Duggars hours before this came out) Duggar’s sexual behavior is appropriately in the public interest.


…shouldn’t you be sitting down during a handjob?

Thanks folks! I’ll be here all week!


Damn, I thought I had ninja edited that out. Damn you, Japhroaig.


This. It’s the same reason I was perfectly fine with Ted Haggard getting outed as a meth head who paid for gay sex. It wouldn’t really be anyone else’s business if not for the fact that he spent his public life demonizing people who engaged in exactly that kind of behavior.

These public outings are less about sex than they are about blatant, ugly hypocrisy.


I don’t really have any issue with showing the hypocrisy of assholes. But I think part of why it still feels a bit icky to folks is because in order to find out this information about him, millions of other people also had to have their privacy violated.

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I give license to the community to use this liberally.


The guy may be a flaming piece of excrement, but using data from this breach to further shore up that sentiment isn’t OK.
If this was information gleaned from court statements or an interview, sure.
But this is fruit from the poisonous tree. The argument that this exposes his hypocrisy only demonstrates (in my mind) the hypocrisy of Boing Boing and the editorial decisions.

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I tend to agree that while the fallout from this may be one of the worst data breaches, if you are in the public eye you are in the public eye. It is a fairly established journalistic priciple that public figures by definition get less privacy in the U.S.

Right or wrong (and I think it is more right than wrong) here we are.


It is a fairly established BBS principle that people must complain about everything they’ve seen on the website as not belonging there.


You make a compelling argument for his sexual behavior being in the public interest, but I don’t think that means there is no moral question when it comes to using data obtained in this way. Being in the public interest wouldn’t be justification for a reporter to hack in to a person’s email account, for instance. And using data that was obtained illegally isn’t quite the same, but it’s not the same as actually reporting the story with legitimate sources either. There are different thresholds for all of these reporting methods. I’m not saying that, in this case, that threshold hasn’t been reached - I’m still on the fence on that, and thinking it through. But using stolen data is not the same as other legitimate journalistic practices and there are different ethical issues that need to be considered.


I disagree, and I think there is solid journalistic precedent. I could pull stories, but in this case I will leave it as an exercise to the reader.

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Welcome to the site. There are vast articles on diverse topics. Perhaps someone on a topic has said something you agree with. You should press the like button when such sentiment is observed within.

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As if it weren’t already obvious that People is a fluffer.


Thanks for the welcome but it’s at least six-odd years [late][1]

Honestly I just re-signed up for a commenting account (I think this is like the third iteration or so?) because this is the first time in a while I’ve felt the need to comment on an article. Usually when I disagree with them or it doesn’t interest me, I move on. In this instance, not so much.

That said, I do believe that Rob makes a cogent argument for why this qualified as “public interest”, even if I disagree.


Right. You know that in this case, at least, we (the media and the public) can riffle through everyone’s secrets like kids in a candy store. It’s one thing to search a dataset for public-interest information on deserving subjects, but another entirely to know this journalistic restraint has no oversight and may be an affectation. A position of moral hazard.

One more thing to bear in mind about it: despite shaking down its users to be expunged from it, Ashley Madison maintained this dataset. It’s existence in the first place means that exposures would happen, eventually, on terms set by someone other than the victim.


I think ultimately there’s a few pretty important points brought up here that make me think that this article is fine and warranted.

  1. Mr. Duggar has basically made his life and career through demonizing this and many other behaviors, many of which are harmless. The fact that he got caught doing one of the clearly harmful ones is noteworthy.
  2. We can both decry the people responsible for the hack and still find the information interesting and newsworthy. One does not remove the other - and I think that’s a pretty important point for me at least. I absolutely do not condone their behavior and if they were getting payment for this info I would find it reprehensible…but it was a massive free dataleak and they get nothing but notoriety from it.
  3. As mentioned before, Josh Duggar is in the public eye and has clearly put himself there - there is journalistic precedent, and I guarantee that as the list gets combed over that any politicians on this list will see the same things emerge.