Ashley Madison hack brings issues to light

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Right to privacy trumps feelings about behavior

Whose job is it to police the private affairs of Internet users?

The answer is simple. It is no one’s job.

Issues surrounding online privacy have always been hotly debated, though.

Most recently, it has become a popular discussion after news broke of an intrusion on Ashley Madison, a dating website that paired users who were already in relationships. Hackers gained account information of more than 30 million of the website’s users.

The hackers who identified themselves as the “Impact Team,” according to USA
Today, released the information publically.

Who exactly is in the wrong here though?

The hackers or the account holders?

Both groups in this instance are wrong but for different reasons.

It is never okay to cheat on your spouse or significant other. But the greater offense here is the hackers thinking it was appropriate in any way to essentially tattle on the website’s users.

Van Badham, who posted on theguardian.com on July 21 about this topic, summarized my feelings on this matter best.

“But as enjoyable as schadenfreude is to the scorned, the mass scale of the hack attack has to be recognised (sic) for what it is: a gross invasion of privacy. Whatever is discussed by whoever is on that site, the personal content now in the possession of the hackers is the consented sexual conversations of adults to which no one else was invited, and mocking their situation amounts to victim-blaming.”

Let me say it again: it is no one’s business what other people do in their private lives.

I’ve heard arguments that since the website was publically available, after you’ve purchased a subscription that is, the users put themselves in the position to be exposed.

This isn’t true, though. Ashley Madison members didn’t consent to having their information on public display.

This was “doxing” at its worst.

Doxing, as defined by gohacking.com is “the act of using the Internet to search for personal details about a person.”

As satisfying as it may be to see cheaters exposed, we can’t lose sight of the fact all of the affected users were consenting adults.

Adults are allowed to lie. Adults are allowed to cheat. And no matter how anyone feels about cheaters being exposed, the right to privacy trumps anyone’s feelings about dishonest behavior.