Getting Caught

Photo by Katka Kincelova
So a group of hackers stole the personal information of the 3 million users of the Ashley Madison website.

If you don't know what that is . . . we'll get to it in due time.

Anyway . . . they stole 3 million profiles and proceeded to blackmail the company. The good people of Ashley Madison didn't blink and so earlier this morning user information including names, dates, profiles, partial credit card numbers, and even some home addresses went up on the dark net.

If you don't know what that is . . . we'll get to that too.

What's interesting about this story . . . is that there are no good guys. Not a single protagonist with which one should root for.

Lemme explain:

Ashley Madison is a social website designed to promote and facilitate infidelity.

It's designed specifically for the people, who want to cheat on their spouses . . . to go out and do so.

Here's the thing though . . . I'm a capitalist and I don't see anything wrong with that. It's a niche market for sure, maybe a little cynical, maybe a little gross, certainly not the kind of thing I would want my name associated with, and most definitely not the kind of business model I would feel comfortable explaining to my wife . . . but it addresses the needs/curiosities a certain section of the population . . . and infidelity sure doesn't have the death rate of say guns, booze, cars, cheese-burgers, or old timey refrigerators with latches instead of magnets.

It's a cruel thing to do to another person . . . but only if you get caught.

So the moral of the story is: Don't get caught.

I tell my wife that all the time. Don't get caught. If you do it . . . feel the guilt . . . live the guilt . . . let it eat you up inside for all eternity . . . I don't wanna know about it.

Anyway, no matter how distasteful the business model, it's still more amoral than pure evil (Looking at you Halliburton)

But the thing is . . . they charge people to remove personal information off the server.

So you create a profile (Smooth Jazz, long walks at the mall, owns van, etc.) you troll around looking for someone who fills all your fantasies . . . then get tired and just look for anyone close . . . have your little trist . . . get charged a finder's fee with an option to upgrade to AshleyPro to remove your profile.

Go pro dude.

Go pro.

But the company didn't remove your info. Oops. They just kept it there. Sitting on the server. Oops. And then they got hacked. Oops. And then they got blackmailed. Double Oops.

Okay . . . so . . . they were on thin ice to begin with . . . and now they've committed fraud.

Not rooting for them at all.

How about their customers? Kinda hard to feel bad for them isn't it? And of course it was mostly guys . . . in fact of the 3 million users . . . I'll bet about half a million were men, a quarter of a million were women, and the other 2.25 million were internet trolls.

That's how the internet works.

I'll even bet that only a wee percentage of the supposed hook-ups ever even occurred.

Stuff like this is designed specifically, not to facilitate poor choices, but to dupe men out of their money for the opportunity to dip their toe in the fantasy pool.

Not to actually dive right in.

I have no judgement as to why a woman would want a service like this.

I would like go to my grave satisfied knowing that they are smarter than that.

So you can't root for the guys . . . what about the hackers?

Well . . . I have a very specific feeling about that particular speciality.

What exactly are you fighting for? Is it moral justice? Take down a terrible dating site? Might as well try to take down The Golf Channel for whatever social good it will do.

Actually . . . please don't take down the Golf Channel.

And what is it with the Guy Fawkes masks? You do know he was just a crazy person who tried to blow up the entire House of Lords which . . . dumb-ass . . . costs money but doesn't have any real political power (you'd want Parliament for that). It's like trying to send a message to politicians by blowing up a DAR meeting.

(DAR btw is the Daughters of the American Revolution)

And yeah I get that the mask was use as a symbol for the comic V is for Vendetta but it was a stupid movie with a stupid plot that was a ham handed attempt at imitating Orwell's 1984, which . . . although a lovely book . . . I still don't buy the ending.

The guy gets tortured until he recognizes he is more important than his true love.



Do you want money? Then you're an extortionist. You have a marketable skill, a global economy with which to market that skill, and if you're just into being a sneaky ass jerk, there's an entire dark net to explore.

The Dark Net . . . btw . . . is kind of like all the underground, back alley, anonymous stuff, that used to happen when the sun goes down, but now sits as kind of like a slightly distorted mirror image of the internet that we all know and love.

I've never ventured there myself because I've got all the fun stuff I need right here, but I can see the allure.

What I'm saying is taking down a company because it and it's users are sorta slimy is such a total waste.

I mean . . . if you're a Social Justice Warrior go after Walmart.

If you're into the economy, ecology, politics . . . knock on the servers of the Koch Brothers, or better yet, any email ever sent by anyone who ever worked at Halliburton. That shit's dripping with blood.

Actually . . . wanna change the whole world? Wanna?

Then sneak inside Sallie Mae's servers and delete all student loan information.

Imagine 20 million well educated families with the sudden ability to pursue . . . whatever.

You can't do it . . . because it's too hard . . . and they back all that stuff up on air-gapped storage discs . . . and probably . . . despite all your skills . . . and all the times you watched Robin Hood Movies on laser disc . . . the thought never occurred to you, and even now that it does . . . it sounds like work.


So getting back to the whole Ashley Madison thing, it's hard to know who the good guys are when everyone is a bad guy.

Frauds . . . fools . . . and nancies.

But there might be a little ray of niceness in the festering pile of blech. Imagine that a woman discovers her husband's information, maybe even a bit of his secret profile on online and sits him down for a long talk:

He confesses.

He was playing around on the computer . . . thought the idea was comical . . . got curious and dipped his toe with absolutely no intention of going all they way . . . but maybe created a full profile just to see what his current market value is . . . not unlike the way she goes house hunting for decorating ideas.

Feelings are hurt, but harm hasn't really been done, and maybe the whole episode opens up a dialogue.

Maybe it offers a particular moment where the two of them could talk like adults are supposed to talk but never really ever do.

There is nothing more important to the safety and security of this world than maximizing the opportunities for two people to sit down and talk like adults are supposed to talk.

I admit that's a stretch. But a little ray of sunshine in an otherwise shaded room, is worth stretching for.

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