Why the Ashley Madison hack should scare you


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Just shows you should have another identity online if you really want to get away with anything.


But there’s an unexamined assumption. People assume, for whatever reason, that what they do on the internet is private - despite years of evidence to the contrary. Privacy isn’t dead, it’s just that the internet is not how you get it. Want to have an affair? Find a partner the old-fashioned way, by flirting. Then check in to the no-tell motel, and do not post your selfies on Facebook. Want to send a secure message? Maybe Sneakernet is your best option - it worked for bin Laden for years and years.


Except for that Josh Duggar guy - he deserves all the shame we can muster!


It should also scare you because a substantial portion of the profile-building that happens to you online doesn’t involve you knowingly signing up for anything.

If you can say nothing else for it, the Ashley Madison hack affected people who had knowingly signed up for a service(albeit not necessarily ones who were told the truth about that service’s data retention policies and similar). They weren’t picked out by Infidelistat™ behavioral analytics solutions and added to some data broker’s list(contrast with, say, the services of MedBase200).

It’s definitely not good that signup-based data are bleeding into the open, and will continue to do so; but it is worth remembering that odds are pretty good that your next doxxing may well be courtesy of a source that is either effectively mandatory(eg. a health insurance entity) or covert and very, very, aggressive at watching you.



So what she’s saying is that first they came for the adulterers and I did nothing?

This seems a tad hyperbolic. I could do without the shame and fear mongering. How about something like: “Hacking is bad. Adultery is bad. Don’t do either.”

In the meantime, I am going to make the best of a schadenfreude situation.


Oh! what about “Abstinence is the key to reducing teen pregnancy”


And Bill Clinton, of course! Everybody needs to know about his adultery so we can make up excuses to forgive him for it.


I think teen pregnancy is bad as well. In my statement I did not include all the bad things in the world, it was an oversight.

Since you asked, we should probably use whatever had been proven most effective at reducing teen pregnancy. And teen adultery and teen hacking for that matter.


I think what @tachin1 is getting at is that saying

“Hacking is bad. Adultery is bad. Don’t do either.”

is likely as naive and ineffectual a solution to either hacking or adultery as

“Abstinence is the key to reducing teen pregnancy”

is to the problem of teen pregnancy.

In both cases, the “solution” is so naive and ineffectual as to give the impression that the speaker has no effing idea what he’s talking about.

Since you asked, we should probably use whatever had been proven most effective at reducing teen pregnancy. And teen adultery and teen hacking for that matter.

This doesn’t really help the matter as it doesn’t involve any concrete suggestions or research.


Exactly. The article is heavy on scary pronouncements, but light on anything for us to do. This whole article doesn’t really help the matter as you say, “it doesn’t involve any concrete suggestions or research.” There was a lot wrong with this hack, and the author takes note of them all, but doesn’t offer anything other than a list of bad things that happened, and why they are bad. Which I guess is a step in the right direction.

From the article:
"But it’s only a matter of time before regular mortals who don’t think they’ve sinned at all… are exposed along with the easier targets.

I just don’t know how to constructively implement those slippery slope arguments. I am not being flippant. Aside from not actively perusing the leaked list for people I don’t like, what actions am I supposed to take to limit this repercussions of this hack and protect the “most vulnerable amongst us*.”

*(though it is still unclear to me why the people whose data was leaked are the “most vulnerable and weakest amongst us.”)


I don’t think either @tachin1 or myself was talking about the article. I think we were both talking about this:

“Hacking is bad. Adultery is bad. Don’t do either.”

I don’t think the article was trying to claim or imply that there is a lot of overlap between those two sets.


I don’t get why cities would have to dig through the leaked data to find out if municipal email accounts were used. Wouldn’t they already have access to their employees’ emails? They could just look on their own servers for emails from AM.


Adultery and child molestation are not the same thing.


Hmm… Maybe it’s about time we stopped “abstinence-only internet education” too…

As in, “don’t put it up on the Internet if you want it to be private”…


Leave it to Marie Claire to address the giant elephant in the room – monogamy is hard, maybe unnatural, and definitely problematic


Maybe a better low-tech alternative to Ashley Madison?


Public shaming will increase risk for all three of those behaviors.

Punishment is generally different than risk-reduction or prevention.


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