Monday, July 20, 2015

Cheaters Never Prosper

Adultery-facilitating website Ashley Madison has had its user data stolen. 37 million users, many of them presumably real people, are now at risk of extortion, identity theft, and that old-timey blackmail.

You can read Avid Life Media Inc's statement here.

I know what you might be thinking: the only site that deserves it more is maybe Gawker. And while I'm sure that law enforcement will be working diligently to find the culprits and bring them to justice, I might expect most citizens hearing the news will sniff and mutter, "they had it coming." Degeneracy like adultery deserves some sort of cosmic justice, and occasionally justice arrives in a chariot driven by a team of hackers (in this case, amusingly and appropriately named "The Impact Team"). 

I have my doubts that Ashley Madison has 37 million unique active users. But that is an upper bound estimate. 37 million already-shaky marriages further threatened by vigilante hackers is a heck of a lot of mischief. There are probably a heck of a lot of people waking up to a heck of a lot of fresh regret this morning. 

I sure hope if you're reading this, you're not one of them. If you are, godspeed. For you have an awkward, difficult conversation with your spouse to conduct, one that I hope I wouldn't wish on even a miserable moral wretch.

Of course, the first-order harm is the infidelity itself. Exposing it is a comparatively minor evil. Right? It seems that way. I think this might be an interesting enough question to explore in my ongoing altfic at Sweet Talk. Stay tuned.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?