The Ashley Madison Hack: Did The People Who Cheated Deserve To Be Exposed?

Ashley Madison, the dating website with the controversial tagline ‘life is short, have an affair’, has been hacked...

Ashley Madison, the dating website with the controversial tagline ‘life is short, have an affair’, was hacked last month and now cyber attacking group The Impact Team has started following up on their threat to reveal the identities of users.

Posting an initial sample of the stolen data this morning, names and credit card details have been leaked on the ‘dark web’ – not, in fact, an evil internet underworld, but an encrypted site that is only viewable in specialised browsers.

So 37.5million people, including 1.2million Brits, who have literally signed up to cheat on their partners, are at risk of being exposed – but do Ashley Madison’s users deserve to have their details published and their relationships destroyed?

The hackers want parent company Avid Life Media to shut down the infidelity website as well as one of its partner sites Established Men, which claims to hook up ‘young, beautiful women with successful men’. Nice.

‘We will release all customer records, profiles with all the customers’ secret sexual fantasies, nude pictures, and conversations and matching credit card transaction, real names and addresses, and employee documents and emails,’ The Impact Team (or, TIT, ironically) stated.

So is what they’re doing a social justice or a violation of privacy?

Yes, The Cheaters Deserve It
This one’s for every dating dirt-bag who has ever hurt you or your friend. You might say that these people knew exactly what they were getting themselves into, and that anyone who has an affair behind their partner’s back runs a risk of them finding out.

Ashley Madison boasts a ‘100% discreet service’, so isn’t it all quite ironic and gross that the tables have turned on those foolish folk who thought they’d never get caught? 

No, These Hackers Can’t Judge People’s Relationships 
Whether you agree with the principle of the website or not, no one deserves to have their details stolen. Even cheaters. Hacking a confidential database, whether it’s a list of people who want to have an affair, or one of people who love puppies, is a criminal offence, and all those who have signed up and given their data to Ashley Madison have done so in confidence.

‘This is an unprovoked and criminal intrusion into our customers’ information,’ Ashley Madison’s chief executive stated. ‘We have always had the confidentiality of our customers’ information foremost in our minds, and have had stringent security measures in place, including working with leading IT vendors from around the world.’

And, while some people may be grateful for the offer, its surely not the job of ‘The Impact Team’ to police people’s relationships? People’s lives could be completely blown up because they’ve broken their marriage vows and, while we can all judge, it really isn’t this group’s place to publicly shame anybody.

So where will this debate end? Will all 37.5million users have their data released and their lives ruined? Tell us what you think of it all on Twitter @MarieClaireUK.

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