Ashley Madison

Ah, Ashley Madison. The self-described ‘most famous name in infidelity and marriage dating’ which boasts that it has thousands of married men and (allegedly) thousands of married women on its books all of whom are looking for an affair.

It is impossible to deny that its founder (a lawyer from Toronto) isn’t great at PR given the number of adverts disguised as news articles which have graced the pages of news establishments worldwide.

Now though it is making headlines for all the wrong reasons with hackers having acquired the details of all 37m or so users – although there are only about 2.3m active users (and removing your account was made somewhat awkward) – as well as company emails. The Impact Team, the group claiming responsibility, said it would release the details if the site (and a sister one called “EstablishedMen” but not another known as “CougarLife”) were not shut down.

Avid Life Media has been instructed to take Ashley Madison and Established Men offline permanently in all forms, or we will release all customer records, including profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies and matching credit card transactions, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,

When the company refused to give in to blackmail, the data releases started on August 18th.

We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of ALM and their members. Now everyone gets to see their data…. Keep in mind the site is a scam with thousands of fake female profiles. See ashley madison fake profile lawsuit; 90-95% of actual users are male. Chances are your man signed up on the world’s biggest affair site, but never had one. He just tried to. If that distinction matters.

Find yourself in here? It was ALM that failed you and lied to you. Prosecute them and claim damages. Then move on with your life. Learn your lesson and make amends. Embarrassing now, but you’ll get over it.

Ashley Madison condemned the leak, saying:

This event is not an act of hacktivism, it is an act of criminality. It is an illegal action against the individual members of, as well as any freethinking people who choose to engage in fully lawful online activities,” the company said in a statement. “The criminal, or criminals, involved in this act have appointed themselves as the moral judge, juror, and executioner, seeing fit to impose a personal notion of virtue on all of society. We will not sit idly by and allow these thieves to force their personal ideology on citizens around the world.

Given some of the practices that AM engaged it, the business can hardly be described as ethical and above-board but if Impact Team’s complaints are just about the company, why release the details of the users? Expose the company by all means – whistleblowing is a perfectly acceptable way to expose malpractice – but by exposing the users they demonstrate that either they wish to set themselves up as the moral arbiters of human sexual behaviour or that there is no agenda and that they are doing it just to kick over the hornets’ nest and watch the fallout.

If it is the former then they are no better than the other nannies who seek to control what we smoke, what we drink, what we eat etc etc and they should be despised for it.

But what of the users? Don’t they deserve what will happen to them as a result of this action? I suspect that for many that will depend on your view of marriage. Do you consider it a bond which encompasses both love and monogamous sex, just love or is it a contract meant to cement dynasties, family obligations, company ownerships and such like? It has been all these and more down the millenia – and infidelity has been around for that entire time as well.

We do not know the reasons which drove 37m people to sign up to AM or why 2.3m use it regularly so generalising by calling all of them filthy cheaters who are going behind their partner’s back is to condemn them all out of hand; the world is more nuanced than that.

My only advice to those who, for whatever reason feel that they wish to use the site (or one like it), would be to a) don’t, b) use a false name and a disposable email address if you still want to or c) try a professional since they will be far more discrete and save you an awful lot of trouble.