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What a week it has been

The sky is still falling from the Ashley Madison hack, and a pretty young thing was slain during a live broadcast.

Taking these in reverse order, after a day of shock the factions are starting. The people who think this is an appalling tragedy, and the people who are like it happens all the time, what's the big deal? Well, let's see...

  • While I think many of us have seen dead and dying people on TV (a consequence of cameras at natural disasters and warzones), I think this might be the first time a normal person doing their normal TV job has been killed on air.
  • Black guy shoots a blonde white girl. I know, it feels horribly racist, but I can't help think about what happened in Ferguson. It took an entire community demonstrating to get something to happen, and that something was a decision not to indict a police officer accused of shooting an unarmed man.
  • That this happens so frequently that somebody wonders what the big deal is really ought to be a screaming huge clue. You. Have. A. Gun. Problem.
    Yeah, I know. I'm just another pansy-ass European, y'all luuuurve your guns, and I wonder how long until the NRA issues a press release that defies belief (like, say, the best way for pretty blonde reporters to stay safe is to carry semi-automatics under their skirts). But, people. Stop. Back up a bit. The situation is crazy. Can't you see that? More guns doesn't make people safer. More guns just gives greater opportunity to pile up the dead bodies.


Ashley Madison now. The company logo (seen on Wikipedia) has a wedding ring for the 'o' and a slogan something like "Life is short, have an affair". It is so unbelievably crass I really wonder if the site was set up as a bit of a joke and then "holy crap, people are using this!".
It is astonishing the number of dubious people that have crawled out of the woodwork to defend those who have used Ashley Madison. Fine, I get it. Love is complicated, relationships moreso, and I am quite prepared to believe that a married couple might prefer to bonk other people while staying together - perhaps for the benefit of a child. The problem is, if these are mutual agreements, why not pick up people locally in the old fashioned way? Dating and affairs existed before the Internet, before computers, before electricity. Am I really supposed to believe that people with legitimate reason used a site specialising in hooking people up for affairs? How naïve do I look?
I will say this. Of the - what is it, thirty nine million subscribers? - of them I am quite prepared to believe that an eighth are reporters and researchers, a eighth are random people that have heard about it and signed up to see what kinds of people would go to a site like that, and an eighth are people who clearly have no concept of honour or trust or fidelity. Oh, and of the active users, 99% will be male. Duh. [the remaining 5/8ths? they will be fake accounts...]

I really find it difficult to sympathise with those "suffering" as a result of this hack, which has the added whoopee of not only were subscribers who wanted their accounts deleted charged (quite a lot) for this to be done, but several important bits of information were left behind. Fine, the world might not know your name and email address any more - but your cute little fantasies and your GPS co-ordinates were not erased. So, yeah, we don't know your name but we know you'd really like to fondle a girl wearing a wetsuit while she is coated in raspberry jam and we can pinpoint your bedroom. Crisis much? Just wait 'til your wife figures this out. Oh, and the SQL dump - all of it - has been doing the rounds of torrents. Privacy? You gotta be kidding me.

Lessons to be learned? Two. Firstly - respect your partner. If your wife has just given birth then she might not want to even think about sex for a while. Some women can pop out babies like there is no tomorrow, some women die giving birth. Everybody else falls somewhere between the extremes. Guys - if you feel that constipation is unpleasant and possibly painful, imagine giving birth. You had sex with her, you know how big the hole is. What comes out is considerably larger. And this isn't even considering the ways that a baby utterly messes with a female body (physically and chemically), plus the fact that the "mother" role means being alert 24 hours out of 24 for the first few years of its life - oh, and the hormonal messing will carry on for a while yet. So don't you dare wonder why she might not feel like engaging in sex. Maybe, if you understood anything about love, you'd try to understand and be the "father" role instead of looking at crap like Ashley Madison.
Secondly... Internet. Security. No. Just no. If you are doing anything on the Internet, expect an audience. It doesn't matter whether the site claims to be secure and protected, ultimately your security depends upon too many people. Affairs happen. Usually the affair is between two people, and maybe only two people. Bored guy sits at a bar someplace, or acts lonely in a restaurant, or whatever movie cliché he thinks might help him meet a girl. She may or may not ever know that he was already taken. Maybe it was a one off? Maybe they meet a few times? There will be many people that see the two of them together if they go out (cinema, club, restaurant, whatever) but neither of them will have signs above their heads saying "dude, I'm married and this ain't my partner". They will just look like two people going out. Like loads of people do. Which is not something you can say about a person that signs up to a website aimed at people who want to have affairs. Your secret is safe... with the sysadmins, the site management, random other people/puppets/bots you try to hook up with, and anybody else who might have access to the data. Which in this case is everybody. Yes. Everybody. Everywhere.

When the news first broke, I thought Ashley Madison was some sort of Manhattan department store. Well, I was kinda wrong there...
At any rate, don't give any website any personal material that you wouldn't want to share with your own family. Because you never know when them finding out about it would be the least of your worries.



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