One big news item this week, beside other really important things like the Tianjin Chemical plant explosion, Bangkok terror bombing, and the European Immigration crisis, is the Ashley Madison (AM) hack.
Now to many this may seem like social justice gone wild, with outing of cheating spouses. However lets be clear this is not social justice, this is people taking a moral high ground and saying that others who have a healthy sex drive (that does not harm the hackers in any way or form) is despicable. This is like the church saying gay sex is bad, and should not be done in the privacy of your home, hotel, car or wherever. However, do not take my word for it, lets look at what the hackers have to say for themselves:
"“Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion,”"
"ALM also runs Established Men, a prostitution/human trafficking website
for rich men to pay for sex, as well as cougar life, a dating website
for cougars, man crunch, a site for gay dating, swappernet for swingers,
and the big and the beautiful, for overweight dating."
Remarkably, this is exactly the rhetoric we hear preachers and theists using when they criticize others personal choices. Of course these hackers like the church are saying that they are doing this for the better of the people involved, i.e. two men cannot have a baby its unnatural. So why did this hack happen according to the hackers?
In the beginning the hackers said that they were doing this in response to AM not removing site data when the company said they would, while charging users for this.
"“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete
lie,” the hacking group wrote. “Users almost always pay with credit
card; their purchase details are not removed as promised, and include
real name and address, which is of course the most important information
the users want removed.”"
Now, if this is true then why dump user data online, would it not be better to get the authorities involved with the hacked information and get the company closed down. The reason they did not do this is as explained above they are taking the moral high ground. Its almost as if the got angry about something, which is probably another reason why this happened. But then again, don't take my word for it, let us see what the hackers have to say.
"For a company whose main promise is secrecy, it's like you didn't even try, like you thought you had never pissed anyone off."
Now beside the moral high ground that these hackers have taken, lets look at the reality of what they have done. This is the only concern that should actually be making the news as this is the part that actually matters. This hack is a massive criminal act with respect to the release of bank and other personal data which may (will?) cause massive problems for banks, governments, etc. Even if these hackers wanted to play morally better (or "social justice warrior extreme") why would you release a persons bank data? Anyone that users the internet knows that release of personal bank data creates a massive problem for that person. It is like losing your wallet taken to a whole new level.
Another sickening fact is that some users of the AM service are in countries where sexual relations outside of marriage or homosexual relations are punishable by death. Its amazing that these hackers did not think that their actions could legitimately lead to deaths, but then again when you have a moral high ground you do not really care about consequences.
So where did their moral high ground take these hackers? Probably to jail. Not for acting moral but for releasing data that is going to give many people (not just the cheaters) a headache or death sentence for a long time. Perhaps the wisest thing these hackers could do in their spare time is work on their new names.
Update 12 September 2015: It is difficult to know the consequences of this hack, what we do know is that there are at least two suicides. Hope the hackers enjoy taking lives as this is their fault.