Shhh
August 19, 2015 12:54 PM   Subscribe

Following up on their promise last month to release the data they hacked from Ashley Madison (the online infidelity-enablement site) hackers have released a ship-load personal information on ASM users. The hackers claim it is more of an attack on the shady business practices of the corporation than the users. (Though in contrast to other hacks, it looks like ASM managed to do a better job of storing passwords semi-securely). But certainly a lot of people's private issues are now public, including 10,000 folks with government emails, and many writers are warning: "Don't be smug, this is only the beginning. And Wired has some useful advice on checking out if you or a loved one is among the hacked data: Don't.
posted by Potomac Avenue (395 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
While the last article is reasonable and probably the wisest course of action, I am still going to check that list whenever it's up and running again.
posted by bgal81 at 1:00 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I can't be the only software/internet guy who saw the Super Bowl ad for AM and thought, more or less simultaneously:
  • "Holy Shit, that's brazen."
  • "I'll bet they make a fucking mint."
  • "It's really gonna be hilariously awful when that database gets leaked."
And here we are.
posted by uberchet at 1:02 PM on August 19, 2015 [75 favorites]


From the Wired article: "But again, maybe don’t check it. No good can come of this."

Sure there can. Assuming the phrase "You're Not Compromised!" pops up after your email address is entered.
posted by zarq at 1:03 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I am flummoxed. Who the hell uses their government email to sign up for something like this. Then again, I would also think people would be smart enough to not use their government laptops for porn, and yet.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:04 PM on August 19, 2015 [25 favorites]


Given that AM didn't verify email addresses, that isn't particularly damning.

However, the CC info, messages, GPS data and so on...

Should be a good year for divorce attorneys.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:04 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


So glad I got my cheating years out of the way when I was young and there was no internet.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:05 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Since AM didn't bother verifying email addresses it's entirely possible your address could be in there if someone decided to use it instead of their own. Could get awkward. On the plus side that would be the only piece of personal info of yours, assuming you hadn't actually signed up yourself.
posted by tommasz at 1:05 PM on August 19, 2015


Seems like all these tools are a great way of harvesting emails as a way of populating a new spam routine.
posted by vuron at 1:06 PM on August 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


None of my fucking business.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:07 PM on August 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


No pun necessarily intended.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:07 PM on August 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


It seems admirable that have i been pwned?, even though the data's going to be available elsewhere, has opted to say that you have to verify that the email belongs to you before they'll tell you if it's included. I'm glad to see that there are some people with principles left.
posted by Sequence at 1:09 PM on August 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hard to know if it is for real or not, but it gave me pause: I may get stoned to death for gay sex
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Given that AM didn't verify email addresses, that isn't particularly damning.

I'd bet that your average Johnny Wannacheat who signed up for their service didn't realize they don't verify addresses and went ahead and punched in his actual info. I'd also bet that most of the site's users aren't the cream of the intellectual crop. Seriously, who the hell falls for such an obvious scam?
posted by item at 1:11 PM on August 19, 2015


It's kinda weird that there's concern for Internet privacy, but then people turn around and not only say AM users deserve what's happening to them, but then go and sift through the data themselves.
posted by FJT at 1:12 PM on August 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


10,000 government emails? Like, as in, people used their work emails to sign up for this thing?
posted by Hoopo at 1:16 PM on August 19, 2015


I'd bet that your average Johnny Wannacheat who signed up for their service didn't realize they don't verify addresses and went ahead and punched in his actual info.

That and what sort of moron doesn't make another email account (They're free!!!!) at gmail, hotmail, yahoo, or any of a thousand other places ? Why in the hell would you use your work address ?

Being that stupid should result in a firing. I even don't really care about the adultery.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:18 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


Seriously, who the hell falls for such an obvious scam?

seriously though all you really need to do to assess the intelligence of the average member of modern society is to read the unmoderated comments on any random article of a local newspaper.

humans are so stupid.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:18 PM on August 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


I'm not sure if my wife would be more upset about potential infidelity or that I was too stupid to use a fake burner email address.
posted by octothorpe at 1:20 PM on August 19, 2015 [51 favorites]


People why get smug and weird about this hack aren't thinking about the public humiliation and fallout for partners and families of the AM users. It's not just the users of these services who are hurt by this hack.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 1:21 PM on August 19, 2015 [41 favorites]


It's kinda weird that there's concern for Internet privacy, but then people turn around and not only say AM users deserve what's happening to them, but then go and sift through the data themselves.

Nope, nothing weird there at all. This is a service that facilitates what most people see as immoral activities, and as such, information isn't seen by most as "private information" but rather "proof of immoral acts." There's a TV show about catching cheaters on hidden cameras, and it is still running. Of course, this leak is sharing more than email addresses, but most of the noise around this is about people being outted as (potential) cheaters.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:21 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Apparently, many of the government emails are from people in the military and the VA.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 1:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Once again we have demonstrated that no one knows how to store large databases securely. Computer technology has made it possible to collect and correlate a huge amount of data but is largely failing to keep that data safe. Particularly when you consider the risk of inside jobs, humans helping the hack.

"Privacy" is a social contract that is unenforceable in the information age.
posted by Nelson at 1:23 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Seriously, who the hell falls for such an obvious scam?

Yeah, I never quite understood what Ashley Madison was about beyond giving pearl clutching Internet journalists something to clutch their pearls about. It just sounded like a hoax.

But apparently the same people who laughingly dismiss "hot single women in your area want to meet you" ads as ridiculous spam for idiots really were going "Oh, hot married women want to meet me? Well that's different. Sign me up!"
posted by Naberius at 1:24 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I never quite understood what Ashley Madison was about

It's a dating site. For people to have sex with each other while married to someone else. It is (or was until last month) immensely popular. What don't you understand?
posted by Nelson at 1:25 PM on August 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Seriously, who the hell falls for such an obvious scam?

If only 0.1 percent of all people with email addresses fall for the scam that is still millions of people.
posted by plastic_animals at 1:27 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not really a scam, though, is it? You can actually sign up and find other people to have affairs with. It's not like they take your info and give you nothing in return.
posted by joan_holloway at 1:27 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Though according to the hackers there weren't really women using the site (and they sound...a little jilted by this?)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:28 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Who the hell uses their government email to sign up for something like this.[?]

As a tech support person this does not surprise me at all. Your average end user can't tell his/her ass from their elbow and would be hopeless unless someone set up their email for them. Now add the extremely complex concept of TWO EMAILS ADDRESSES!?!?, and their heads would explode. I sincerely wonder how some people manage to find their way into work each day.
posted by Gungho at 1:29 PM on August 19, 2015 [26 favorites]


It's not really a scam, though, is it? You can actually sign up and find other people to have affairs with. It's not like they take your info and give you nothing in return.

In fact, it's the best kind of money making "scam but not one" that way because if you pay them but if you fail to meet your girl, it's fairly easily blamed on somebody else.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:31 PM on August 19, 2015


The founders should pivot and rebadge Ashley Madison as a dating site for divorced people.
posted by acb at 1:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [110 favorites]


Though according to the hackers there weren't really women using the site (and they sound...a little jilted by this?)

if this turns out to be the work of an angry feminist hackers collective i hope the movie version will star angelina jolie.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:39 PM on August 19, 2015 [24 favorites]


It's not really a scam, though, is it? You can actually sign up and find other people to have affairs with. It's not like they take your info and give you nothing in return.

From what I read, it kind of is (was?) a scam. Nearly all of the women's profiles were faked by the company, and they charged a fee to erase your account information.

Not that I have any sympathy for the victims of this hack, but let's be honest here.
posted by FakeFreyja at 1:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


I wonder if this is going to be part of your weekend safety briefing. "Don't use your military e-mail to sign up for this type of thing." Also, if I know my military law, adultery is punishable by UCMJ, but is only a separation offense if the adultery was detrimental to the unit or morale. So the folks who used their military email might be in for more fallout than just what happens to their relationships, although just having an account there is not indicative of actually having committed adultery. And then we get into illegally procured evidence and all sorts of legal conundrums. Obviously, I am not a lawyer.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 1:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


if this turns out to be the work of an angry feminist hackers collective i hope the movie version will star angelina jolie.

Only if they call her Acid Burn
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [8 favorites]


A couple of years ago there was a big Facebook data leak where millions of email addresses were collected and distributed by hackers before the security gap was closed.

The ultimate monster could create a system that combines the two sets of data, crawls the Facebook data for relationship information, and automatically sends messages to partners of people found on AshleyMadison.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]




For the more enterprising criminals, they could just do it with the government and military addresses and engage in mass blackmail.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:42 PM on August 19, 2015


This hack couldn't have happened to nicer people.
posted by jayder at 1:43 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


how do you blackmail someone with publicly available information? if anything this data release might actually foil someone's current blackmail scam.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:43 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


Good point. I guess you'd have to settle for sowing chaos and pain, then.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


A few years back I had a roommate who worked for Ashley Madison. She didn't like to talk about it very much, but she had a deep and abiding hatred for them. She finally quit after they tried to buy up the ad space being vacated by companies fleeing Rush Limbaugh in the wake of his comments about Sandra Fluke. I think that was the last straw for her.

She was officially in the marketing department, but a large part of her job involved maintaining a huge stable of fake profiles of hot horny housewives.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2015 [76 favorites]


yay
posted by poffin boffin at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ugh, Ashley Madison played a role in breaking up the marriage of two of my closest friends earlier this year. Only one of them remains my friend, but the damage done to the family was catastrophic. Of course, Ashley Madison was not to blame, and no one deserves to have their data leaked, but what a sleazy operation with apparently equally sleazy data security practices.

Saying that "no one deserves to be outed" or whatever is kind of missing the point - no one deserves to have their TV stolen, but at the same time we all at the very least try to lock the front door each night.

Their statement yesterday about the data leak broadcasts an almost comical tone of outraged violation.

It's signed by Ashley Madison's "Director of Social Media", a schmuck who includes in the press release a link to his own personal Facebook page. Peak beard, with lots of gym selfies.
posted by Nevin at 1:45 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there a site where I can search the data by city or state?
posted by ph00dz at 1:45 PM on August 19, 2015


I don't understand why people feel OK with patrolling other people's sex habits.

It's just not true that we don't understand how to secure large databases. There is very little downside to ignoring security until something big bites you. When you get bitten then there's a huge downside but people, ie managers, aren't very good at evaluating consequences.
posted by rdr at 1:46 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Apparently, many of the government emails are from people in the military and the VA.

Now added to the data sets of the entity behind the OPM hack, no doubt. The collective, well-justified explosive pants-shitting RE: potential blackmail of government employees seems never to have happened, but the odds just got even better.
posted by ryanshepard at 1:46 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah I know people in my life who have used this site to successfully facilitate multiple affairs. It is not a scam by any stretch of the imagination unless you consider okcupid, tinder, match.com etc to be "scams." Is the ratio tilted towards men? Probably heavily, yes...but people in my life of both genders have attested to just how real this site is...

Now, lets say I wanted to go behind my significant others back. Even in that case, I can't personally imagine signing up for and going through with something like this unless I could pay for it with tumbled bitcoins through a proxy and use burner everything - tracphone, email, etc. for all communications. Like, holy shit. Even going that route leaves you exposed if someone with resources wanted to connect the dots after the fact.

So why do so many people sign up with their real emails? How could they possibly? Because so many people in this country are depressed as fuck and don't really care. They are willing to take the risk to feel something and if they get bitten, well...deal with it then.

What's interesting, and dismaying to me at the same time, is not the depressed people in wrecked or dead marriages that use this site. That I understand. It's the people i've met in my real life that are in HAPPY relationships that cheat because of some reason I can't place yet - maybe to feel like they have control, or to fulfill some impulse, or whatever. Does this just happen more than any of us ever know? It's really got me thinking.
posted by jnnla at 1:48 PM on August 19, 2015 [17 favorites]


Their statement yesterday about the data leak broadcasts an almost comical tone of outraged violation.

The "See What All The Fuss is about" banner ad at the bottom seems especially ill timed.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:49 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


C'est la D.C.: "Then again, I would also think people would be smart enough to not use their government laptops for porn, and yet."

2400 employee school system, we fired an average of one a year.

Those are just the ones brazen enough to get caught, and less than 10% of our employees spent more than a couple hours a day in front of a work computer. So I assume if you've got a lot of people in front of their screens 8 hours a day, A LOT MORE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 1:52 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


So why do so many people sign up with their real emails? How could they possibly? Because so many people in this country are depressed as fuck and don't really care. They are willing to take the risk to feel something and if they get bitten, well...deal with it then.

Well...I'm an attorney, and a few years ago I worked on a case stemming from the LIBOR manipulation scandal. Part of that was listening to trader phone conversations which are required to be recorded.

I was shocked at how dumb these people were. You'd have traders calling the people who submitted the interest rate info for the daily LIBOR calculation and just asking them to raise or lower their submission by a few basis points to help them on trades. No speaking in code, no attempts at hiding it, just directly telling them to manipulate the data for their gain.

You'd think if you're going to commit a crime you would try not to do it over a medium you know must be recorded. As noted above, you'd also think people wouldn't use government or military addresses on something like AM.

I think many people just have this false sense of security and don't even think about getting caught.
posted by Sangermaine at 1:52 PM on August 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


Does this just happen more than any of us ever know?

I have a modest, but n > 2 circle of female friends who migrated from okc and the like to AM as they felt that the pickings were substantially better. It has and has not worked out for them. Most certainly the material circumstances of their beau's has improved.

Who can say? People are complex.
posted by mrdaneri at 1:54 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's kinda weird that there's concern for Internet privacy, but then people turn around and not only say AM users deserve what's happening to them, but then go and sift through the data themselves.

All of my shit got published in the OPM leak so I'm about ten shades past giving any kind of a fuck, but as far as I can tell, people are only concerned with their own Internet privacy. We saw the same "gasp! I am scandalized! scandalized, I say!" [brief pause] [*commence frantic Google searching*] thing with this.

So why do so many people sign up with their real emails? How could they possibly? Because so many people in this country are depressed as fuck and don't really care. They are willing to take the risk to feel something and if they get bitten, well...deal with it then.

Gospel truth. People who are having affairs are a lot of things, but the #1 thing they are is weirdly excited to engage in self-sabotage, which makes them worse than useless when it comes to any/all other decision-making skills. They're like, "Well, I'm already seriously fucking up my marriage... What else can I fuck up? The rest of my family? My friends? MY JOB? Hell yeah, let's go for it!"

Like when I was a young and decidedly amoral pup, my then-paramour and I started and continued to conduct our years-long affair entirely through his fairly high-profile work email address -- hundreds, probably thousands of pages of incredibly explicit missives that could leave no possible doubt in any reader's mind as to what was going on. Hand on my heart, neither of us foresaw this ever being a problem. Not once! But as it turned out, he worked in print media and wound up getting laid off in the thick of our reverie. I imagine some poor IT intern had to have been tasked with combing through his email history to find all of his priceless contact information and leads, and wound up having to slog through painstakingly detailed accounts of our sex life instead. Sorry for that, whoever you are, somewhere out there...
posted by divined by radio at 1:57 PM on August 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


Sangermaine: "Well...I'm an attorney, and ..."

Yeah, I also can't count the number of people setting up their extramarital affairs via work e-mail (with people they met in a traditional fashion, like at work, not on the web) whose vast quantities of dirty laundry I saw because they were in discovery documents that attorneys were poring through for litigation. And not, like, low-level peons -- senior management with years of experience with litigation, who KNEW, they KNEW, their e-mails were discoverable in litigation. But they carried on that way anyway! (See also: Phyllis Wise and her "hey to avoid FOIA we're going to use these private e-mails and did I mention the purpose of this e-mail is to illegally avoid FOIA and I know it's illegal?")

Some of them seemed to be operating on the theory that their work e-mail was safer because their spouse and children didn't have access to their work e-mail, so carrying out all affair correspondence via work e-mail would be safer.

I'm still waiting for textmageddon when we all get to see some executive's embarrassing personal texts on his company blackberry exposed via litigation.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:00 PM on August 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


Once again we have demonstrated that no one knows how will pay to store large databases securely.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:02 PM on August 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


"Privacy" is a social contract that is unenforceable in the information age."

I think (or maybe just hope) you underestimate society. Disclosure is all but impossible to enforce, but I believe there are nascent mores forming that will very strongly discourage individuals from searching the disclosure results. I predict that within the next 5 years, viewing dox data will be considered way more heinous than the doxing itself.
posted by klarck at 2:03 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Does this just happen more than any of us ever know?

My guess would be yes, although the frequency might depend on what precisely is considered cheating.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:04 PM on August 19, 2015


so how many web media interns do we think are painstakingly combing through the hacked data right now, looking for a public figure to report on
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:05 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


All of them, Katie.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:08 PM on August 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


All of my shit got published in the OPM leak so I'm about ten shades past giving any kind of a fuck, but as far as I can tell, people are only concerned with their own Internet privacy. We saw the same "gasp! I am scandalized! scandalized, I say!" [brief pause] [*commence frantic Google searching*] thing with [the celebrity nude picture leak].

Those two things are pretty different. The celebrity leak was creepy people being creepy and horny and the weird judgmental people trying to pretend that the celebrities had done something wrong by sending images privately to others. The Ashley Madison leak has a lot more to do with the fact that Ashley Madison's stated goal is to help people hurt their (extremely likely to be unknowing) partners. I mean, even beyond the obvious betrayal issues, there's things like the suddenly increased risk of STI for the unknowing partner. Ashley Madison ran their business on a public image that is unquestionably evil, so of course people are happy to see them get burned.

The difference is that thinking the victims in the first case were doing something wrong is based on creepy Puritanical misogyny, while thinking that the victims in the second case were doing something wrong is just paying attention.
posted by IAmUnaware at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


People why get smug and weird about this hack aren't thinking about the public humiliation and fallout for partners and families of the AM users.

Or that the data is not necessarily accurate. It'd be pretty easy to merge in other publicly available data sets and cause max chaos.
posted by srboisvert at 2:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Or that the data is not necessarily accurate.

Yeah, this... I have a very short gmail address and as a result, there are several people out there, from multiple countries, who give out my email when signing up for things. I'm pretty sure I don't remember any emails from Ashley Madison, but I've gotten people's travel reservations and police reports and severance/layoff paperwork. I've been signed up for sleep studies in Houston. I've been invited to Santeria ceremonies in Miami.

My alter-egos live a much more interesting life than I do, and I hope people don't judge me by what they've signed my email up for.
posted by pie ninja at 2:18 PM on August 19, 2015 [44 favorites]


My wife and I were recently in Ottawa, where after breakfast at the hotel restaurant the waitress asked us if we wanted separate checks while lightly touching my arm. Unrelated? I don't think so.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


You don't have to be all that smart about email/security to believe you could get away with this, just marginally smarter about it than the person you're cheating on.

You will still be an asshole though.
posted by emjaybee at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Unrelated? I don't think so.

Separate cheques is much more common in Canada FWIW.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I still maintain that the greatest Ashley Madison factoid is that is features prominently in Chris Brown's video 'Loyal'.

I mean, seriously, Ashley Madison aren't even trying to hide the fact that they cater to people like Chris Brown. They are promoting it.

But someone is making tons of money...so...I guess it works.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:28 PM on August 19, 2015


You don't have to be all that smart about email/security to believe you could get away with this, just marginally smarter about it than the person you're cheating on.

Hence the blackmail potential, I think - I'm guessing there are plenty of middle-aged spouses of military employees out there who will either be unaware of this entire scandal, or unable to check all of their spouse's email addresses, user names, etc. against the readily accessible databases. Chinese state hackers already in possession of huge amounts of data on government employees, though? It's only a matter of time.
posted by ryanshepard at 2:29 PM on August 19, 2015


checkashleymadison.com has been served with a DCMA take down notice.
posted by peeedro at 2:29 PM on August 19, 2015


What's interesting, and dismaying to me at the same time, is not the depressed people in wrecked or dead marriages that use this site. That I understand. It's the people i've met in my real life that are in HAPPY relationships that cheat because of some reason I can't place yet - maybe to feel like they have control, or to fulfill some impulse, or whatever. Does this just happen more than any of us ever know? It's really got me thinking.

What's more interesting me is all the judging being done based on the idea that you're supposed to find one person and stick with them forever. What a crazy idea that is, when you think about it. Have you been married for 10+ years and never once been tempted? Then you're some kind of superhuman or you became asexual.

Sometimes people, both men and women, need some variety in their life. Just don't lie to your partner and for Gods sake, don't fall in love.
posted by fungible at 2:31 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


What's more interesting me is all the judging being done based on the idea that you're supposed to find one person and stick with them forever. What a crazy idea that is, when you think about it. Have you been married for 10+ years and never once been tempted? Then you're some kind of superhuman or you became asexual.

No, it's fucking not at all. The judging is being done based on the fact that you promised to stick with them forever and you're breaking that promise. That obviously doesn't apply for people like gay users of the site, or single people who just found the idea of discretion appealing. There's nothing wrong with wanting to fuck someone else, there are many things wrong with promising you won't fuck other people and then doing it anyways.
posted by protocoach at 2:35 PM on August 19, 2015 [27 favorites]


Poly people always talk about how doing poly right requires radical honesty, yet it's always proposed as a great solution for cheaters, a group literally defined by their willingness to lie.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:36 PM on August 19, 2015 [23 favorites]


Somewhere in the annals of people I know connected to large law firms in marginal capacities is someone who read an e-mail where three partners at a major firm arranged a threesome over their work e-mails.

The hope of finding something similar got me through some long doc review nights, but the personal stuff was all people missing their kid's volleyball games.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I worked internal Tech Support at a large bank many years ago. Two of our Levell III technicians were conducting an affair (one was married, the other wasn't). These were people who certainly had a deeper technical acuity than the average person *and yet* they still managed to store all of their extremely explicit sex chat logs (replete with specific details regarding trysts in various areas of the office) in a public folder on the department's share drive.

It's almost like they wanted to get caught.
posted by Doleful Creature at 2:39 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I sympathize (a very tiny bit) with people who were affected by this breach but I'm becoming apoplectic over the hand-wringing media coverage about how the jobs and reputations of the predominately male membership (6:1) will be affected. Meanwhile, when boatloads of pictures of female celebrities were leaked last year, a large part of the internet called them idiots for storing images in the cloud given the risk of a security breach or ignored how it affected those impacted all together.

From the Verge post linked in the FPP: "Is it truly our responsibility to act as if everything we say will eventually become public, or can we hold companies responsible when they fail to protect our data?...For registered members of the site, the personal consequences could be dire...adultery is a crime in the military...servicemembers found guilty of philandering can be punished by a year of confinement. They’re also subject to a dishonorable discharge, which would mean losing their pension.....people could lose their jobs."

From a Verge post last year about the leaked photos: "Apple says the hack was caused 'by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions,' and not a breach of its systems. The incident sparked a discussion about security, the social acceptance of sexting, and the misogynistic culture that thrives in some corners of the internet."

From a Mashable post about Ashley Madison: "this breach could have devastating consequences on their personal lives...the potential personal ramifications from this hack could be truly devastating."

From a Mashable post last year about the leaked photos: "The incident also raises unsettling questions about the general state of security for cloud storage services, which are now a major part of both personal services and business workflow."

I could continue with more links, but you get the idea.
posted by _Mona_ at 2:46 PM on August 19, 2015 [71 favorites]


The Ashley Madison leak has a lot more to do with the fact that Ashley Madison's stated goal is to help people hurt their (extremely likely to be unknowing) partners.

As much as it's tempting to believe that big-database hacks correspond to some form of Internet justice, the reality is that it's after-the-fact spin on targets of opportunity.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:46 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have no respect whatsoever for anyone who believes that lying to someone about a relationship what will affect every single aspect of their lives for years and years -- their health, their longevity, their self-esteem, EVERYTHING -- is some kind of mildly amoral thing that is no one's business.

Fuck that. Tell the truth. Have as many partners as you wish to negotiate with the people in your relationships. But don't try to claim that deceiving someone for years is not society's business. That's a form of assault, and it is our business. It's society's business to protect its members.
posted by lastobelus at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


I believe there are nascent mores forming that will very strongly discourage individuals from searching the disclosure results.

Oh I hope that's true. I'm seeing a bit of that response in the press about the Ashley Madison leak, the "maybe it's better not to look" take such as the Wired article linked here. (See also the backlash to the Gawker outing from earlier this summer). Western culture certainly has a "mind your own business" streak in it. But in America in particular I think that respect for boundaries is overwhelmed by prurient interest. Not to mention prudish judgment, as demonstrated in some of the less compassionate comments in this very discussion.

I think another equally likely outcome of the new panopticon is people just stop giving a fuck what strangers know about them. The way young people today don't think stolen nudes of their friends are such a big deal (except that one girl OMG such a slut), or the way we have a lot of demi-celebrities now who are largely famous because they either had a sex tape leaked or leaked a sex tape themselves.

In the past year I've had my account information hacked from, oh, at least 5 major companies I do business with. So have you probably, if you have ever done business with Anthem or Home Depot or eBay or Target or Adobe or Slack or Twitch or Chase or UPS or Evernote or ever worked for the US government or... Much of this compromised data is stuff my grandparent's generation couldn't imagine being ever shared or stolen, my parent's generation felt was private, and which my generation nervously looks at and says "well this probably won't harm me personally, right?" Maybe the next generation just assumes all the data they ever share with any computer is semi-public, or at least certainly not secret.

The Ashley Madison hack is shocking because it's about sex and infidelity. But it's really just one more in a long stream of examples of how your records in insecure databases mean you have no secrets any more. That widespread failure of security breaks our privacy social contract.
posted by Nelson at 2:51 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Ashley Madison leak has a lot more to do with the fact that Ashley Madison's stated goal is to help people hurt their (extremely likely to be unknowing) partners.

I have a hard time believing that most of the folks who use this service are able to keep a lid on their affairs. With the case of my friends, it turns out he had been doing this sort of thing for years and years, and she had put up with it because of the psychological barrier of ending the marriage.

In my former friend's case, he used his real name and his Facebook profile pic on his AM profile, mostly because he was well-known locally as the operator of an ecommerce website that catered to the "housewife" demographic... and a pool of potential "fuck buddies."

After my friend finally had the courage to seriously confront him about his behaviour - and he kicked her out of the house - all of his behaviour came to light, and it indicated that he has a serious addiction to pursuing risky sexual behaviour with multiple partners.

Ashley Madison was not the cause of the infidelity, but was just another tool. And, as mentioned, she knew about it, but for a variety of reasons was compelled to put up with his truly disgusting behavior for many years.
posted by Nevin at 2:54 PM on August 19, 2015


Poly people always talk about how doing poly right requires radical honesty, yet it's always proposed as a great solution for cheaters, a group literally defined by their willingness to lie.

Absofuckinglutely not. We don't need more scumbags giving those of us who do believe in honest, ethical nonmonogamy fucking around and tarring us with their shit. If you do meet somebody who is recommending ethnical nonmonogamy to cheaters, slap their shit.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:00 PM on August 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


I hope nobody, especially in the media, forgets that Ashley Madison didn't verify email addresses ever.

I fought with "support" for weeks to have them remove my email from someone else's account. This guy had used it to sign up, and I got sick of getting his gross match emails. I reset the pw on the account, and tried to change the email, but if I remember right it was going to cost me to get the email removed and I wasn't about to do that. After going back and forth with support, they assured me up and down that it was removed, yet it's still in the data dump. I don't really care about that part, but it's still annoying.

Some quality snark about it all today on Twitter, and as someone with a cheating ex I have to admit to some schadenfreude over cheaters who get caught by this hack. But I just can't get over the potential consequences for people's lives, and innocent people who will get caught up in it. I get the antipathy for the company, I really do, but the hack/dump was really irresponsible and Impact Team can DIAF as far as I'm concerned.
posted by gemmy at 3:03 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


The Ashley Madison leak has a lot more to do with the fact that Ashley Madison's stated goal is to help people hurt their (extremely likely to be unknowing) partners. I mean, even beyond the obvious betrayal issues, there's things like the suddenly increased risk of STI for the unknowing partner. Ashley Madison ran their business on a public image that is unquestionably evil, so of course people are happy to see them get burned.

I have no respect whatsoever for anyone who believes that lying to someone about a relationship what will affect every single aspect of their lives for years and years -- their health, their longevity, their self-esteem, EVERYTHING -- is some kind of mildly amoral thing that is no one's business.


What if the other partner is okay with being in an open relationship but doesn't want to know the details? Never mind, I'm sure that you, Internet person who doesn't know anything about hypothetical couple's arrangement, knows what's best for them.
posted by kat518 at 3:10 PM on August 19, 2015 [8 favorites]




Holy shit^^^^^
posted by RedShrek at 3:16 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


They use their work email because not only does their spouse not have access to that email account, they don't have access to the computer at work from which they access the account either. There's less risk from snooping when you walk out of the room with your laptop screen unlocked. Also less risk from acting suspicious when using your computer at home. Still super dumb since email accounts are free.

After 20 years, I still haven't cheated. That doesn't mean that I've never thought about it. I'm not dead.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Welp, it looks like the first high profile member has been found.

top kek

Also, who seriously uses a .gov email address to sign up for a "dating" website? Or indeed any kind of website?
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Popcorn sales are going to explode this week!
posted by bgal81 at 3:22 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


If this teaches people to not use their work email addresses for personal shit(*,**), something good has come of it.

*18 years working in jobs that frequently require streaming in to other people's work computers, or sitting down at them, has left scars. People will use their work email, and work computers, for anything. (So glad I don't have to support user phones.)

**I suppose this will do nothing to stop anyone from sending me resumes with their extremely personal email addresses on them. Maybe sexxyluv6969 was the best desktop support person in the world, but I didn't even call her for an interview.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:23 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Josh Duggar being exposed in this feels like some sort of ULTIMATE TEST EXAMPLE for those of us who wish people's privacy wasn't being violated no matter how sleazy we might find AM.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:25 PM on August 19, 2015 [50 favorites]


Anybody want to bet on which Republican contender will be first to be found in the datadump?
posted by acb at 3:27 PM on August 19, 2015 [12 favorites]


Josh Duggar being exposed in this feels like some sort of ULTIMATE TEST EXAMPLE for those of us who wish people's privacy wasn't being violated no matter how sleazy we might find AM.

I contain multitudes.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:28 PM on August 19, 2015 [41 favorites]


acb: "Anybody want to bet on which Republican contender will be first to be found in the datadump?"

All of them?
posted by double block and bleed at 3:30 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Anybody want to bet on which Republican contender will be first to be found in the datadump?

So that's why Hillary ran her own email servers!
posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:31 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


maybe josh duggar's wife will leave him and protect their kids from him. weirdly, i think infidelity might be more likely to be a deal breaker than being a molester.

also, not that it matters in the context of this story, but i like to point it out whenever it comes up :
There's a TV show about catching cheaters on hidden cameras, and it is still running.
cheaters is at least partially, and i'd guess mostly, staged - just like most reality shows.
posted by nadawi at 3:34 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Fuck this noise. This data is unreliable. I guess I will get to die waiting, but it would be awesome if lots of us (the culture at large, not just the blue) could get over being the oh-so-eager crossing-guards of Everybodyelsesunderzipperstan. New hobbies folks, new hobbies.
posted by The Vice Admiral of the Narrow Seas at 3:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Opportunities present themselves for:

1) Electronic Frontier Foundation, Tactical Tech, Mozilla, all the legit pro-privacy tech organizations (even the for-profit ones like startpage.com and Spamgourmet) to straight-up advertise that a benefit of their trainings/services is peace of mind re: your shenanigans

2) Some journalist or activist to promulgate a canonical "I will not look at these leaks" pledge
posted by brainwane at 3:39 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


You know, as someone with an ex-cheating spouse, you would think I would be first on the bandwagon to support the good old scarlet letter. But public shaming of someone who is not a public person makes me feel... not good.

Unhappy people do a wide variety of things. Some of them pretty crappy. Most of them desperate and many of them stupid. How many lonely people signed up with no intention of doing anything except being curious and wanting to live a fantasy? Do they deserve to lose their job? Does someone deserve public humiliation if all they did was send dirty messages online? Yes? What level of dirty messages, precisely, deserves exposure and punishment? What about flirting with a former sweetheart via Facebook? What lies are okay to tell to your spouse? None? One? Should every married person who flirts at a bar have the film published online? No? Kisses a stranger at a bar and doesn't confess? Yes? Who draws the line and where do you draw it? Who gets to decide whose lives to ruin?

I've got a ton of sympathy for a bunch of people who probably should have known better but who are now about to have their lives exploded. We have no idea if they really deserved it. We don't know if they had an actual affair. We don't know if their marriage was open. We don't know a thing about their lives. Their families will be dragged into it when jobs are lost and public accusations are made. To be honest, I think people who would celebrate this are pretty awful themselves.
posted by frumiousb at 3:42 PM on August 19, 2015 [34 favorites]


[One comment deleted; let's err on the side of not bringing address or other personal info over here from the data dump, even for super sleazy people.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 3:52 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


sorry. his info isn't actually private so i didn't think it would matter. the important part of my comment is that there's reason to believe that josh duggar's account was from years ago, not current.
posted by nadawi at 3:53 PM on August 19, 2015


My wife can't sleep with the TV off. She can't really sleep with it on, either, but I digress.

Years ago, I think after Law and Order ended, Cheaters would come on in the middle of the night. I usually woke up briefly because the main attraction of the show was the woman coming completely unglued when her man was caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

One night, after listening quietly to the loud acrimonious screaming and having noticed my wife was still awake, I waited until they recapped how this particular dumbass "cheater" got "caught"*. Then said in a whisper to myself, "amateur mistake", after which I was tormented with hard pokes the the ribs and a fair amount of swearing.

* - I'm with nadawi. This show is 99.44% bullshit.
posted by double block and bleed at 3:54 PM on August 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


i'm not guessing that cheaters is at least somewhat staged, i know it is because i've known people who were on it and paid for their time to portray situations that were written for them
posted by nadawi at 3:55 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


please do not crush my dreams and tell me that the Cheaters episode where the host got stabbed didn't real
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:03 PM on August 19, 2015 [13 favorites]


I don't know how much longer having given 'Tiberius' as my middle name is going to protect me from discovery.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:05 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have no respect whatsoever for anyone who believes that lying to someone about a relationship what will affect every single aspect of their lives for years and years -- their health, their longevity, their self-esteem, EVERYTHING -- is some kind of mildly amoral thing that is no one's business.
-----
What if the other partner is okay with being in an open relationship but doesn't want to know the details? Never mind, I'm sure that you, Internet person who doesn't know anything about hypothetical couple's arrangement, knows what's best for them.


There's no lying in this hypothetical arrangement so I don't see how this counters the original point.
posted by Dalby at 4:06 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've seen a few references to a Google Map of geocoded addresses from the dump. I haven't been able to put my hands on a working copy though. Ashley Madison apparently aggressively pursuing DMCA takedowns of tweets from journalists republishing the data. Which will do little to protect their customer's privacy, but may delay the bad press a little longer.

Here's a fun map where adultery is criminalized in the US; 21 states in all. It seems probable those laws were invalidated by Lawrence v. Texas but I think the matter has not been specifically tested.
posted by Nelson at 4:15 PM on August 19, 2015


i have no direct knowledge of the stabbing episode and in my headcannon it's 100% real and i hope to never be proven wrong!
posted by nadawi at 4:15 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of the only benefits to come from living in Dallas for as long as I did is knowing several people who were on Cheaters. It's 100% staged.

Related: holy shit Cheaters is STILL on?
posted by item at 4:29 PM on August 19, 2015


I haven't seen the show in many years. Here's the scene with the stabbing. I hate reality TV, but that was some enjoyable television there.
posted by double block and bleed at 4:35 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


Related: holy shit Cheaters is STILL on?

I'm so old, I can remember when "Cheaters" was called "The Maury Povich" show.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:37 PM on August 19, 2015 [9 favorites]


Sorry to disappoint everyone but a cursory wikipedia search reveals"

In early 2003, Greco was allegedly stabbed by a cheating boyfriend when the Cheaters crew boarded the man's boat; however, on November 3, 2009, the news magazine program Inside Edition interviewed the female companion, who said it was all staged. Greco was confronted a week later by the program's investigative reporter Matt Meagher. Greco declined to answer any of Meaghers questions, stating he couldn't legally comment on the accusation. John Ellison of the Rowlett Police Department stated on the same program that "There were no arrests at all during that time period for that type of crime."
posted by rdr at 4:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


the important part of my comment is that there's reason to believe that josh duggar's account was from years ago, not current.

Well, if you call May 2015 "years ago", then sure.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:42 PM on August 19, 2015 [11 favorites]


I truly don't believe that this is any of my business, but holy fuck is it hard not to feel schadenfreudelicious about Josh Duggar. The only thing better would be if it were Jim Bob.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:43 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


This will cause problems for a lot of people with jealous spouses. It's not just the unverified email issue; that's bad, but one assumes not too many people signed up with someone else's email address. The big problem will be the people search for names, and finding emails that are basically people's names - and not realizing that there are 27 different people with that name in the US alone.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:50 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


ohhh i see, the excerpt is only showing the 2013. was only looking at the documents, not gawker's writing around it, and missed the 2013...well that matches up w/ what i know.
posted by nadawi at 4:50 PM on August 19, 2015




First -- yep, people are dopes. For using an email address that really is tied to them by anything more than air. (And absolutely for using an email address tied to their work -- unreal stupid.) For using a credit card number that isn't one that their bank genned for one-time use. For not getting and using a burner phone, you can buy one anywhere, pay cash by the month, leave the damn thing in your desk, in in your fishing tackle box, or in your knitting kit.

Next. It's not black magic -- that data could have been protected. The whole point of the company was to allow people to run around but keep it locked down, behind closed doors. Poor management, they had really poor management, and whether it's poor management in picking your IT people or poor management in being unwilling to pay realistic prices for competent IT management or both, the fact is that these people fell down.

Moving on. Talk about pearl-clutching -- my god, I would not have dreamed that there would be so much dramatic pearl-clutching and finger-waving here at people who have made decisions to step outside their wedding rings. It is their choice, you know. A choice you don't like them making, followed by action you don't like them taking. But it is absolutely Their Business.

I know all too many marriages that are just dead. Dead. As in, no heart-pounding sex in over a million years. Their biggest thrill the new hbo series. Big honkin' couches. Big honkin' tvs. Big fkn yawns.

I can't imagine how they do it. Or why. And I don't blame them, not for one second, I don't blame them for at the very least considering things, for watching closely, speculatively, when those tv ads came on.

What's amazing to me is that there aren't hundreds of these outfits.

I guess most people are finding their back-door love as has been done for centuries -- at work, at church, behind the barn where they stable the horses, etc and etc. Wherever you find married people, you'll find married people running around. PTA board members. A plumber comes over to fix the water heater and whoops! A connection. Eyes met. Hands stretched out, tentatively, at first. Etc. People in prayer circles are rolling around together, praising god, lay ministry, if you will. (sorry)

What annoys me about this whole thing is that these hackers chose these poor dopes to hack apart, and plus no one gives a damn about these people. Surely they could have found a better target that is just as poorly guarded. I guess they're getting their very own jollies on ruining these people, and knew it'd raise a lot of attention, knew that there would be tons of people jumping up and down in condemnation of those "dirty, bad, wrong-minded, cheatin' sleaze-bags" and not too very much remembering that whole "Judge not, lest ye be judged." part, not too very much considering "Damn, I wonder how I'd feel if it was me?"

Go ahead, say it'd never, ever be you. Could never, ever happen. Say it to a mirror and see a human being that doesn't understand that things can happen, that you also have human frailties. And your neighbors spouse is fkn hot.

I do hope that these hackers spouses are fucking their best friends whilst said hackers eyes are glued to his/her screen late every night, and/or they get hit by a bus tomorrow afternoon. I think, in short, that they suck.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:57 PM on August 19, 2015 [19 favorites]


The Duggars and the brand of Christianity that they represent are deeply, deeply ill
posted by Avenger at 4:58 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


"There were no arrests at all during that time period for that type of crime."

Right. No reality TV-related arrests in Rowlett, Texas during that - or any other - time period. Likely story.
posted by item at 4:58 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


There's something funny about people judging people for being judgemental about adultery.
posted by bgal81 at 5:07 PM on August 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


Not for being judgemental about adultery. I can be plenty of that. For celebrating public shaming of adultery. There is a difference.
posted by frumiousb at 5:23 PM on August 19, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think that was aimed at this:

Moving on. Talk about pearl-clutching -- my god, I would not have dreamed that there would be so much dramatic pearl-clutching and finger-waving here at people who have made decisions to step outside their wedding rings. It is their choice, you know. A choice you don't like them making, followed by action you don't like them taking. But it is absolutely Their Business.

Y'know, because god forbid you note that cheating on your spouse makes you an asshole, that's pearl-clutching and finger-wagging.
posted by protocoach at 5:25 PM on August 19, 2015 [15 favorites]


Medical records. Sealed court records. Employment history including confidential information. Juvenile records. Financial records. Whatever, man. If its online, somebody will someday hack and dox it.

Today, they came for Ashley Madison. Tomorrow they'll come for digitized records of our counseling sessions or records of our kids' detentions or how often we buy beer. Somebody else will use that information against you or yours ("can't hire him - he has a heart murmur," "don't let that kid into our camp program - they were busted for lying to their teacher once in third grade,").

So, yeah, cheating is a bad thing, but these hackers shouldn't be the ones empowered to punish the cheaters anymore than they should be empowered to share how much money you've spent on World of Warcraft instead of charity or whether you buy unhealthy food or not.

The bad guys here are the hacker/doxers. That their victims were also doing something lousy doesn't make the bad guys and less bad.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2015 [29 favorites]




Today, they came for Ashley Madison. Tomorrow they'll come for digitized records of our counseling sessions or records of our kids' detentions or how often we buy beer. Somebody else will use that information against you or yours ("can't hire him - he has a heart murmur," "don't let that kid into our camp program - they were busted for lying to their teacher once in third grade,").

'They', in this scenario, is not hackers. It's companies. And it's not tomorrow, it's now. It wouldn't shock me one iota that corporations were grabbing hacked data when it gets dumped and throwing it into a data warehouse, in the same way that they scrape social media for personal information. For targeted advertising, for calculating insurance premiums, for... everything. Anything they can get, they will get. And if they don't know how to use it now, they just keep it until they can figure out something.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:55 PM on August 19, 2015 [25 favorites]


That is very true.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:02 PM on August 19, 2015


So maybe more than previous hacks this Ashley Madison thing will get people to start thinking about security. The people thinking about security who will actually do anything about it will be some start-up types. They'll see an opportunity here. Soon we'll get a few more SF-based tech companies on the scene promising 'the most secures' for your online identity. Security-minded websites and apps will see a surge. Some might offer pretty good security. Most won't. The ones that are easiest to use will also be the least secure. The ones making the biggest claims will be the biggest targets. They will be like lightning rods for hackers to attack. Look at what happened to Lastpass not to long ago. I couldn't live without lastpass...but when that finally gets hacked...shit man...I'm gonna FREAK. But the reality is that it is just too convenient to plod along and take that risk....

To truly practice bomber security online is to be constantly paranoid and jump through endless tedious hoops. You can do it for a while...but I am of the mind that no one can do it forever. Humans are just bad at it. Look what happened to Dread Pirate Roberts. Dude slipped. A guy whose life was eating and breathing proxied-up, encrypted-everything, l33t hacker shit4realz slipped up.

There's no hope for us regulars. It's a scary future.
posted by jnnla at 6:16 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Eh, I might have an account. I was working on a story about them years ago. I bet a huge percentage of the people who sign up never follow through to anything like a date -- especially if a good chunk of the female profiles are fake. In some ways I always thought that was one interesting aspect of the business model...since you don't make money once people really take it offline, it's actually in your interest to let people *pretend* they might have an affair.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:16 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm curious if any of my fellow Mefites have gone / plan to go through the records to check out family, co-workers and spouses? If you did what did you or do you plan to do if you find something? I hope this doesn't come across as judgmental, as I'm really just curious.
posted by humanfont at 6:23 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Seriously, who the hell falls for such an obvious scam?


As we just found out, the secretary of state of the United States had not a single person in her staff who knew what it takes to do a proper hard drive delete. It's easy to be exasperated about the lack of clue in circulation, but it won't make the clue fairies pop up and rectify the problem.

Computers are still a mystery to mundanes. And what they don't know can kill them.
posted by ocschwar at 6:31 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Hard to know if it is for real or not, but it gave me pause: I may get stoned to death for gay sex


He last posted 25 days ago.

Fuck.
posted by ocschwar at 6:32 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


I believe in privacy rights and I believe that doxxing is bad, and yet I can't muster more than a weak moue of sympathy for the cheaters whose information has been exposed. On the other hand, the thousands* of sex workers who use the site? Them, I feel bad for. That sucks.

*I presume.
posted by KathrynT at 6:33 PM on August 19, 2015 [6 favorites]


Josh Duggar being exposed in this feels like some sort of ULTIMATE TEST EXAMPLE for those of us who wish people's privacy wasn't being violated no matter how sleazy we might find AM.

lol, well, here's another one for you: "God staged our miscarriage" / "how dare you not let us into LegoLand for free??? don't you recognize us from the viral youtube video where I manipulate my wife's pee" / attractive Frozen singing godblogging dad extraordinaire Sam Rader appears to also have been a member
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 6:37 PM on August 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


He last posted 25 days ago.

Fuck.


One can only hope that it was a throwaway account.
posted by qcubed at 6:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [2 favorites]


the important part of my comment is that there's reason to believe that josh duggar's account was from years ago, not current.

Well, if you call May 2015 "years ago", then sure


Yes he stopped paying for his two accounts right about the time the sexual abuse scandal broke and he lost his job at the Family Research Council. Huh. All that time he was promoting family values he was trying to hook-up with some strange.

His OK Cupid account is still active however.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:43 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


I truly don't believe that this is any of my business, but holy fuck is it hard not to feel schadenfreudelicious about Josh Duggar. The only thing better would be if it were Jim Bob.

Oh, the night is young, Arbitraryandcapricious.
posted by jrochest at 6:55 PM on August 19, 2015 [4 favorites]


Yeah, this... I have a very short gmail address and as a result, there are several people out there, from multiple countries, who give out my email when signing up for things. I'm pretty sure I don't remember any emails from Ashley Madison, but I've gotten people's travel reservations and police reports and severance/layoff paperwork. I've been signed up for sleep studies in Houston. I've been invited to Santeria ceremonies in Miami.
Oh, can I relate. My secondary email address is adamsc@gmail.com and so I've had a ton of private things – mostly marketing junk but fairly regularly important things like school and medical documents (once an entire clinic's patient roster with conditions!), loan applications (USAA stopped including the full text after I escalated to their security team, which was surprisingly hard), legal correspondence, family business[1], etc. which has given me a side hobby of trying to convince businesses they should validate email addresses before using them.

On the topic at hand, there are two people (an American woman and a particularly busy UK man) who sign up for a lot of dating sites. I also receive emails from their applications for jobs, shady loans and overdue bills semi-regularly and whenever one makes it past Gmail's spam filter I wonder how hard it would be to track down the right real address and suggest that success in all of these areas might improve if they could consistently enter their own email address.

This is a benefit to Ashley Madison's careful monetization strategy: so far, all of the people with similar addresses appear to exclusively use the free sites. With everything else, I'm assuming that address is flagged as “deadbeat” in enough marketing databases to keep the spam down.

1. The single most interesting mixup was after Barack Obama was elected and I ended up CC:-ed on an African-American family's massive celebration thread. I was happy too but it really wasn't my place to be there so at first I replied to explain that I wasn't Uncle Clyde but every new person kept replying to the original message and I ended up having to mute the thread and delete it a few days later when the dust had settled.
posted by adamsc at 7:07 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


The search tools aren’t even useful…this is a publicity stunt.
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 7:28 PM on August 19, 2015


littlejohnnyjewel has cracked the case! that 10 gig data dump is all faked, it's all just a viral ad campaign.
posted by Nelson at 7:30 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


Question is, what the hackers going to do, with the list of emails that dumb people enter trying to check up on their spouses...
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 7:34 PM on August 19, 2015 [5 favorites]


Its not just the emails. Its the PMs, the cc information, the usernames...

Its everything about their accounts, except for the passwords which were reasonably well protected.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:38 PM on August 19, 2015


Tomorrow they'll come for digitized records of our counseling sessions or records of our kids' detentions or how often we buy beer.

Pay cash for beer, and avoid counselors with hidden cameras.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:38 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


lol, well, here's another one for you: "God staged our miscarriage" / "how dare you not let us into LegoLand for free??? don't you recognize us from the viral youtube video where I manipulate my wife's pee" / attractive Frozen singing godblogging dad extraordinaire Sam Rader appears to also have been a member

Triple fucking gross.
posted by item at 7:51 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


>The search tools aren’t even useful…this is a publicity stunt.

The data dump is real and easily obtained over very ordinary and well known torrent sites (Ahoy!). A large part of the data is in SQL .dump files that can take many hours to import in to someone's MySQL database.

The fallout of this will go on for weeks and Dugger is probably the least interesting person that will fallout from this. Some of the data dump contains GPS coordinates (probably from a GPS-Wifi database => "Ashley Madison wants to use your location. OK?") from each login ... so think about that for a bit.

Juicy.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 8:08 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


So maybe more than previous hacks this Ashley Madison thing will get people to start thinking about security.

something i and other people have noticed - people not only seem to care more about this breech, but also seem to be screaming from the rafters that we must not look and we must feel bad for the victims at a much louder pitch - and we've wondered if that has anything to do with the demographics of the majority of the exposed...

...and also how many of those who now yell for us to not look sought the fappening pictures...
posted by nadawi at 8:17 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


fungible: "Have you been married for 10+ years and never once been tempted? Then you're some kind of superhuman or you became asexual. "

Whoohoo, 15+ years! My super power revealed. Though I'm not sure Monogamy Man is going to sell many comic books. In this issue Monogamy Man makes the world a better place by not sleeping with the Barrista that flirted with him. Seems to lack for something as a story line.

Seriously though I appreciate that I seem to be a bit of an outlier in this regard but I am a natural monogamist. No virtue in that what with the lack of temptation; it is just the way I am.
posted by Mitheral at 8:24 PM on August 19, 2015 [10 favorites]


Well, I think it's been well-established that women's bodies, particularly well-known, classically attractive women, are a public thing to be discussed, criticized, and viewed at the pleasure of the male gaze.

Men's information, on the other hand, that's private. I'm not sure a subreddit has yet opened up for the dissemination of this data.

I know I wrote the above with scorn, but given that it really does seem true, I'm going to go vomit somewhere.
posted by qcubed at 8:26 PM on August 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


My grandfather's email is in the data dump. I don't doubt that I could prove it was him if I wanted to mine the billing addresses.

Four years ago, or 12 years into retirement, my grandmother discovered he was paying another woman for the last 30 years. He inherited quite a bit from his parents, so these payments totaled over a million dollars.

To this day, he insists that its a loan, and this woman will somehow be able to earn enough to pay him back. It's a lovely idea. Perferrable to the idea he's a cheater. Seeing his email helps remind me that it's pure gas lighting.

I don't buy into the idea that I should respect his privacy on this count. Yes, my grandmother enjoyed the years of ignorance. She probably ignored a ton of red flags while everyone else could see what was going on. And she lost 18 years of being able to prepare for a retirement. He spent all the community property, and they only have his inheritance now. She would get nothing in a divorce. Until we dismantle the patriarchy, the "mind your own business" philosophy is inherently misogynistic and harmful for women.

I've never understood why our generation believes that privacy can be a real thing. I think we are absolutely owed privacy protections. But that relates to how people/government/businesses can use information. Not IT security, which is more customer service than a right.
posted by politikitty at 8:39 PM on August 19, 2015 [20 favorites]


Thank God I use the Agony column for all circumlocution.
posted by clavdivs at 8:41 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


What's more interesting me is all the judging being done based on the idea that you're supposed to find one person and stick with them forever. What a crazy idea that is, when you think about it. Have you been married for 10+ years and never once been tempted? Then you're some kind of superhuman or you became asexual.

Been married 13 years. Never been tempted. That doesn't make me superhuman. Don't be ridiculous. Still find other people attractive. Happy to remain faithfully monogamous. I love my wife, and I'm damned lucky to be married to her.
posted by zarq at 8:49 PM on August 19, 2015 [14 favorites]


i think like a lot of things in society, we should rethink monogamy as a baseline, but monogamy works for a lot of people. if monogamy doesn't work for you, awesome! go do that honestly! but for men to cheat on wives, in a system that often makes it hard for the wives to fully leave the husbands - fuck that. i'm not bringing a poly parade to their fuckshit, no way.
posted by nadawi at 8:53 PM on August 19, 2015 [16 favorites]


also, if it matters, i've been happily poly and monogamous and see the benefits from both models. i've also been a mistress and do not see the benefit in that model for the women involved.
posted by nadawi at 8:54 PM on August 19, 2015 [3 favorites]


attractive Frozen singing godblogging dad extraordinaire Sam Rader appears to also have been a member

The domain name that hosts the supposed Sam's email makes it looks more likely that that twitter account is just an anti-Rader griefer making shit up.
posted by peeedro at 9:14 PM on August 19, 2015


The domain name that hosts the supposed Sam's email makes it looks more likely that that twitter account is just an anti-Rader griefer making shit up.

The landing page for the domain looks like a pretty standard parking page, but if you lookup the whois info for the domain, you'll find:
  • The admin and registrant contact name is "Samuel Rader"
  • The listed phone number is the same as the cell phone number listed on the Contact page of Rader's photography site, samuelrader.com
  • Other domain records that list the same email address include samuelrader.com, sampaulphoto.com, sampaulphotography.us... and samandnia.com
I'm not posting a direct link to the whois lookup results page since it contains a lot of personal information and I don't want to fall on the wrong side of the no doxxing policy. But if you're interested, you can confirm yourself using a service such as Whoisology.
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 9:48 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


The landing page for the domain looks like a pretty standard parking page

It's changed since I last looked. What reads "Buy this domain" read something like "Sam Rader is a homophobic hypocrite." Really. And that's as deep as I looked.
posted by peeedro at 11:19 PM on August 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


Men's information, on the other hand, that's private. I'm not sure a subreddit has yet opened up for the dissemination of this data.

I kinda wanna make one just to see how fast it gets banned.
posted by emptythought at 11:50 PM on August 19, 2015




I know I wrote the above with scorn, but given that it really does seem true, I'm going to go vomit somewhere.


Back in the Violentacrez days, I said something like "no, see, these guys' names are private information. Unlike my vagina, which is public property."
posted by KathrynT at 12:22 AM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


Back in the Violentacrez days, I said something like "no, see, these guys' names are private information. Unlike my vagina, which is public property."

Isn't it possible to be upset about both? I don't fully follow why this is #fappening vs. #ashleymadisonhack. And tbh, I see a lot of the Interwebs rejoicing at these guys being dox'd. I was very upset about the nude celebrity leak (I'm female) but I still don't think these names should be released. Where's the contradiction?
posted by frumiousb at 12:27 AM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


(not being snarky, just genuinely curious why there seems to be an either/or choice.)
posted by frumiousb at 12:27 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile. #Gamergaters are using the leak to attack their enemies-- who would mostly be people with .edu mail addresses and game developers.
posted by frumiousb at 12:34 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well because a lot of the people who were mad about VA being doxxed were the members of the subs he modded, including /r/creepshots and similar.
posted by KathrynT at 12:45 AM on August 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Got it, thanks.
posted by frumiousb at 1:08 AM on August 20, 2015


What a shlamassel!
posted by sour cream at 2:30 AM on August 20, 2015


The Guardian's published a story about a British MP's details showing up in the dump. I don't know anything about the person in question's politics, but as far as I can tell they are not someone already mired in really gross scandals ala Duggar. They, as one would expect, responded saying that their email was used by someone not them, etc., etc. All this to say that it seems like we can stop using gross monsters as examples of notable politicians getting tangled up in this crap.
posted by sparkletone at 5:13 AM on August 20, 2015


All of my shit got published in the OPM leak

The OPM leak was never publically available, as far as I can tell, so your shit only got as far as into the data banks of whatever nation-state (and their partners) that executed the attack.
posted by ymgve at 5:59 AM on August 20, 2015


It is tempting to cross referrence the GG-auto blocker account list against the Ashley Madison list.
posted by humanfont at 6:01 AM on August 20, 2015


Not worth kicking the wasps nest IMO.
posted by sparkletone at 6:18 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: i'm not bringing a poly parade to their fuckshit, no way.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 6:30 AM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


The OPM leak was never publically available, as far as I can tell, so your shit only got as far as into the data banks of whatever nation-state (and their partners) that executed the attack.

For sure, and that does give me a mote of comfort, but I've come to realize that I sort of have to deal with/process it like it's all already out there, because it's only a matter of time before [nation-state & co.] decide to do something with those data banks, or some other bunch of folks breaks in and steals them, or -- I dunno, really, because it's so utterly out of my hands.

Of course they could also do absolutely nothing with it, in the end, but I still need to stay mindful of the possibility that it might eventually be published in any format, in any forum, with any amount of fanfare, at any time, from now until always, which somehow manages to feel slightly more ominous than simply knowing they've already been made visible and searchable to the entire world.
posted by divined by radio at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


In the one possible good piece of news regarding Josh Duggar, at least his sexual preferences at AM didn't mention kids.

Uh, if that's good news.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:26 AM on August 20, 2015


Well, he probably saw that AM was 18+, so that audience wouldn't be there if he were interested.
posted by qcubed at 7:53 AM on August 20, 2015


Evidently, AM had a $19 "full delete" option that may or may not have been followed.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:55 AM on August 20, 2015


or some other bunch of folks breaks in and steals them

Yeah, one can only hope those foreign governments do a better job securing their data than ours did.

But somehow I have my doubts.
posted by qcubed at 7:55 AM on August 20, 2015


Evidently, AM had a $19 "full delete" option that may or may not have been followed.

Ashley Madison database suggests paid-delete option left identifiable data intact [Guardian, 8/19]

Also of possible interest: A light-weight forensic analysis of the AshleyMadison hack.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:11 AM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks ryanshepard, that analysis link was fascinating. Now I'm curious about the loan. ("Noel's loan agreement.pdf A promissory note for the CEO to pay back ~3MM in Canadian monies.")
posted by sardonyx at 8:21 AM on August 20, 2015


Man, Josh Duggar's list of deep dark affair desires are so straight up fluffy bunny I can't work up any schadenfreude at all. Gentleness? Sensual Massage? Cuddling & Hugging? goddamn, Bubble Bath for 2? It's like I'm so used to the secret unspeakable lusts of men revolving around acts that can be perceived as degrading women in the overall cultural context that it's a relief to see somebody whose secret fantasies are so soothing, even if it could be just another front.
posted by foxfirefey at 8:25 AM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


it's a relief to see somebody whose secret fantasies

...are centered around being mothered?
posted by Lyn Never at 8:37 AM on August 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


Here's the most active subreddit I've found discussing the hack. There was also this subreddit but it seems to have been intended for pre-data-dump discussion and is closed. And one more. As noted above the company is being very aggressive with DMCA notices, trying to squash discussion. Hopefully this Metafilter thread isn't threatened, we're all staying very far from talking about the actual data.

The Reddit discussion is pretty shallow so far, but I did find this interesting data summary. Maps, histograms, etc. 86% male. Median age of 46.
posted by Nelson at 8:45 AM on August 20, 2015


As noted above the company is being very aggressive with DMCA notices

They really have been. Just amazingly aggressive.

On the one hand, yeah, they are probably getting some frantic calls from some very important people - and it is their data. On the other, there would be no thievery in this world if we all locked our footlockers.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:04 AM on August 20, 2015


Here's another overview of the data. It says 5% of Americans and 6% of Canadians had accounts, which seems astonishing to me.

And here's a scatterplot map of users. It does indeed look like a population density map, or more specifically an Internet-using population density map.

10GB is a lot of data, I expect lots of interesting stuff will trickle out in the next few weeks. Everyone's talked about the excitement of some famous person getting caught out but the mass dataset for analysis is more interesting to me.
posted by Nelson at 9:14 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


qcubed: According to ONTD, a subreddit's already been removed

Well, one can only assume that they'll be this prompt the next time something like the Apple Cloud breach takes place, right?

(hahahaha yeah right)
posted by qcubed at 9:28 AM on August 20, 2015


Last year the company made 2 million dollars just from users using the "full delete" option on their accounts (Ashley was charging about twenty bucks for being able to delete your account from their records). I can't help but wonder, considering the utter sleaziness of this company and the apparent unmitigated stupidity of its user base, if this "leak" wasn't engineered to happen so that more people would exercise that option thinking that it would prevent others from accessing their information. Another 2 or 3 million couldn't hurt the principals I imagine.
posted by AGameOfMoans at 9:39 AM on August 20, 2015


If I wanted to ruin somebody as a group of hackers, I would totally inject their information into this list.
posted by boo_radley at 9:40 AM on August 20, 2015


The only Ashley Madison-related subreddit I know has been closed is /r/AMUpdates, which says it was closed by the moderators. "Impact Team has leaked all the data. There is no reason for this sub to continue being public." I'd speculated above that Reddit may have received DMCA notices from Avid Life, the owner of Ashley Madison. But if they do I think it would show up here and so far it hasn't.

For that matter the only new Ashley Madison DMCA action I've seen reported is this tweet takedown against Vice. Are there others since the data dump was published? (Before the dump, there was a broad effort). Eventually any filed takedowns should show up at Twitter's reporting, or Google's, or Reddit's, or Chilling Effects. But so far nothing has shown up. I don't know what delay might be involved, or if these companies have other avenues for copyright takedowns that wouldn't show up.
posted by Nelson at 9:49 AM on August 20, 2015


My wife and I were recently in Ottawa, where after breakfast at the hotel restaurant the waitress asked us if we wanted separate checks while lightly touching my arm. Unrelated? I don't think so

I'm a bit surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet: as many as 1 in 5 Ottawans might have an AM account. Obviously there are probably a lot of duplicate accounts and bots in there, but still, it's got many local chins wagging.
posted by bonehead at 10:07 AM on August 20, 2015


Also, from the local subreddit, the proportion of AM accounts to registered to Canadian Federal department addresses.

The Supreme Court looks like quite the place to work.
posted by bonehead at 10:16 AM on August 20, 2015


So, a guy I work with downloaded the data (not totally sure why, but whatever). As he was importing the data, I'd hear him yell something in exasperation like "oh god they have lat long/IP addresses". I think he wanted to poke around with some "real world" data, but then got whacked with the burden-of-knowledge stick.

I did peek over his shoulder and I would recommend that people who see anything derived from this data take it with a grain of salt for now. For example, anything using the email address data could be using only real, confirmed addresses, or could be using ALL of the email addresses. As has been mentioned, the dump contains unconfirmed email addresses, duplicates, obviously fake ones, and public/high profile addresses.

The scary part is in a few days when the real, confirmable, and correct data is fully distilled from the crap data.
posted by bonje at 10:40 AM on August 20, 2015


there's reason to believe that josh duggar's account was from years ago, not current.

Not only is there a second more current account, but Josh has now admitted to a (currently active...but going to stop today, I really really mean it) "pornography addiction".

Here's another overview of the data. It says 5% of Americans and 6% of Canadians had accounts, which seems astonishing to me.

No, it says there are 6 accounts for every 100 Canadians and 5 accounts for every 100 americans. That's not even close to the same as saying 6% of Canadians and 5% of Americans have accounts. I'm not sure we should trust analyses of the data done by people who can't tell the difference between those two statements.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:50 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


More evidence that those analyses are done by people who don't know crap: What's up with the pie chart that divides people into "single" "partnered" and "LGBT" and somehow these magically add up to 100? Cause no one single or partnered is LGBT and no one LGBT is single or partnered?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:53 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Isn't the issuance of a DMCA notice a tacit admission by AM that their parent company's servers were cracked? I wonder if that puts them at risk of a class action suit.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:00 AM on August 20, 2015


Not only is there a second more current account

yep, and i already saw that and responded to it. i can't really talk about why i was wrong and follow guidelines. sorry for the wrong statement.

also - remember that josh duggar looking at porn was used an excuse when the molestation news came out - something they swore he had repented for and moved on. so if he never stopped the porn, one wonders what else he didn't stop.

...i so hope anna gets their kids out of there.
posted by nadawi at 11:17 AM on August 20, 2015


20GB more data down the pike (Gizmodo link about the dump, doesn't appear to contain links to the dump itself, should be safe)

The hackers who released 10-gigabytes of compressed data a couple of days ago just released another 20-gigabytes of data, including what appears to be the email inbox of the company’s CEO.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:20 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife.

...

The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.

...

I humbly ask for your forgiveness. Please pray for my precious wife Anna and our family during this time.

Josh Duggar


Fuck you, Josh. Stop judging others, stop moralizing from your twisted, disgusting faith. Disappear and never come back into the spotlight again, and maybe you'll earn my forgiveness, one day. More likely, just a forgetting.

Me and my kind aren't ruining marriage.
posted by qcubed at 11:35 AM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.

Lets not forget that, presuming there were any actual women on Ashley Madison at all, his patronage of the site also served to encourage them to commit adultery with him.

Way to fight immorality there, Josh.

I have been the biggest hypocrite ever.

Yeah, we know that. And the sad thing is, this admission might have had some moral value if it had come before you got caught.
posted by Gelatin at 11:45 AM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


"You guys, you guys, you guys, it's all ok again! I said I'm sorry, so Jesus forgives me (again)! And guess what else? He said to go back to gay bashing like nothing happened, so everything is ok! God works in mysterious ways! We can have the TV show and our income back now, right?"
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Oh, and I did it all because of the porn, so it wasn't actually my fault."
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:05 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Oh, and I did it all because of the porn, so it wasn't actually my fault."

You jest, but considering the pathos of his Ashley Madison profile cited above, it's clear that the rancid little cult he belongs to has left him utterly unequipped to deal with his own desires, let alone anyone else's. This guy could be the poster child for the concept of the patriarchy hurting everyone, if not for his parading around in public as a moral leader, which is unforgivable.

It's also worth noting, going back to my earlier comment, that even while he was admitting to molesting his sisters, he continued to keep his Ashley Madison membership -- and whatever adulterous activities they led to -- a secret, which only compounds his hypocrisy (of course, admitting it would have disrupted the narrative that it was so long ago and Jesus made him better).
posted by Gelatin at 12:17 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.

Yeah very typical Josh. He never actually confesses to joining several web sites in order to be unfaithful. He never confesses to putting time, effort and money into meeting other women for sex. He confesses to be addicted to porn.

In his (fundie) world porn is a gateway drug which will lead you into other sins. Also, viewing porn is just like being unfaithful to your wife. So when he confesses to being unfaithful you and I will read that as him coming clean to having affairs, but his fellow Christians will see that as Josh looking at porn. They will shake their heads and feel vindicated in their belief that porn is Satan's handiwork.

He did something very similar when his sexual abuse of minor children was revealed. His confession was never explicit.

I am so ashamed of the double life that I have been living and am grieved for the hurt, pain and disgrace my sin has caused my wife and family, and most of all Jesus and all those who profess faith in Him.

Yeah, sorry Anna and Josh Offspring, Jesus and all who believe in him are first in importance. The fact that your husband and dad screwed around while Anna was knocked up, well that was bad but not as bad as screwing around on Jesus.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:20 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


ugh, yeah, the grossest part of his "apology" is how he felt his actions hurt jesus and other christians more than they hurt his wife and kids.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:23 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


So does anyone know what the Gothard party-line is on inidelity? Is this just like any other marital dispute where they're supposed to never go to bed angry, so Anna is just basically supposed to forgive him this very day, recognize his authority to decide that his saying he's never going to do it again is good enough and never bring it up again? Or is she allowed to take the kids and haul off back to her probably-equally-dysfunctional-parents* in Florida?

I've been googling and can't find the official Wisdom Book line on this.

* Maybe not. Her parents did raise at least a couple of kids who don't partake of the kool-aid, so maybe they were quite as indoctrinate-y as the Duggars?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:27 PM on August 20, 2015


Im not really jesting, these moralizing assholes always use their religion both as a sword and a shield, whatever is required to justify their behavior. God commands you gays and abortionist sinners to repent, and we must pass laws punishing anyone who doesn't OBEY HIM, but when Im caught with my pants down, oh, we're all sinners, God forgives all like a get out of jail free card, so Im off the hook for any mortal consequences.

All these confessions of rightwing dominionists caught in hypocritical sex scandals read similarly, Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, John Ensign, it's always I was tempted by Satan and his evil porn or seductive foot taps, but God forgives, none of this alters any of my past public statements because Jesus.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:31 PM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


To speak to your question directly, yes Gothard does allow for divorce on the grounds of infidelity but there is no doubt in my mind that she will forgive him. For one thing she has 4 kids under the age of 6 and no marketable skills. Also she has been raised that while your family and church can help you out, you never take public assistance. Her parents are not going to take her back. She might be able to camp out with her sister that left the cult, but then what?

Looking at pornography, fondling his sisters, she has already forgive him for that so why not this? All he has to do is cry and pray and she will believe he has repented.

I was struck when I watched the documentary The Rise and Fall of Ted Haggard how his wife said that she had to stick by him because he was the father of her children. No doubt Anna will do the same.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:38 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


The cynic inside me believes that JB and Michelle Duggar will stop touring with their "How We Raised 19 Godly Children Act" and start "How Internet Porn Stole Our Son." Maybe bring Josh along as exhibit A and he can cry on cue and then lead the audience in prayer.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:42 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


well the duggar daughters are already doing a child sex abuse "documentary" - so yeah, i suspect other members of the family will try to capitalize off this latest sin/redemption story.
posted by nadawi at 12:48 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Maybe TLC should give Anna a show about what it's like to divorce Josh's lying ass and get the hell out of the skeezy Duggar cult.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:52 PM on August 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


I'd watch the hell out of that show.
posted by Gelatin at 12:54 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Whoops! Hold the phone. Josh has amended his confession. It no longer references an addiction to porn.

From this: I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the internet and this became a secret addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.


To this: I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife.

He really has no clue how the internet works. It is forever, asshole. See also, his OK Cupid and Facebook accounts which were hurriedly scrubbed this morning.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:57 PM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


At first I thought his apology was an attempt to "plead guilty to a lesser crime." Now that he's edited it, I wonder if he thought word had leaked that he spent a bunch of money on some porn site.
posted by drezdn at 1:03 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


To this: I have been the biggest hypocrite ever. While espousing faith and family values, I have been unfaithful to my wife.

I wonder if even the whole "unfaithful to my wife" constitutes an admission of an extramarital affair. Even Jimmy Carter famously admitted to Playboy of "committing adultery in his heart" by looking at other women with lust.

I wouldn't disagree that whatever the dude did or did not get up to via Ashley Madison, he was unfaithful, but I wonder if it's another code phrase of the sort T.D. Strange references.
posted by Gelatin at 1:05 PM on August 20, 2015


Now I come to find out that his earliest statement made reference to Satan:

From this: The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, in my heart I had allowed Satan to build a fortress that no one knew about.

To this: The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country I was hiding my own personal failures.

As fun as this is (and who knows what Josh is going to write next) I need to get myself to to the gym. Otherwise Satan will build a fortress in my fat ass.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:08 PM on August 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


Amanda Marcotte: Why Can't All Ashley Madison Hacking Victims Be Josh Duggar?
But — and this is critical — the price you pay should be proportionate to what you did. Cheating isn’t the public’s business in most cases, because it’s not a violation of the social contract. Cheating is breaking a personal promise to another person to honor a monogamous commitment. If you break that promise, you can’t be surprised if you’re dumped. Or your parents and children find out. Or that your ex, who is well within her rights, tells all your friends what you did. Those are appropriate, personal consequences for breaking a promise.

It’s not like domestic violence or rape, which are often kept quiet but are, in fact, the business of everyone else in the larger community because violence is a violation of the social contract. Or even just creepy or harassing behavior. When you harass someone, you really don’t deserve a modicum of privacy. These behaviors are about maintaining basic order and setting a standard for how we treat people, regardless of who they are. It’s about ensuring that we all have a right to safety that other people can’t violate.

But cheating is about violating a deeply personal agreement between two people. If the person you’re with doesn’t care if you sleep with other people, it’s not cheating. It’s all about an agreement that you decide between yourselves, and like all such agreements, the only people who should care what you do are people who your behavior directly affects. It’s not the business of the world at large.

Unless you’re Josh Duggar, of course. Or anyone else who fights publicly to use government interference to mess with the private sexual choices of consenting adults. If you fight for the government to limit or ban gay people’s marriages or women’s reproductive choices, then your sex life is our business. If only there were a way to do a targeted search of Ashley Madison data for that, while leaving everyone else alone.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on August 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


The last few years, while publicly stating I was fighting against immorality in our country, in my heart I had allowed Satan to build a fortress that no one knew about.

HELL YES SATANIC CARDIAC CASTLES!
posted by item at 1:37 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


in my heart I had allowed Satan to build a fortress that no one knew about

I'd always suspected that Sting was Satan.
posted by Gelatin at 1:42 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


So I have something embarrassing to admit: I was just at the drugstore on other business and I looked for a copy of this week's People Magazine, which as you may know, had the Duggars on the cover. I assume either pornography or the devil made me do it. Anyway, nary and issue to be found. I asked if they had pulled it and the woman at the cash (who is admittedly, not the Shoppers' manager of magazines and scandal or anything) said that they must have because they just had a bunch.

I suppose it's possible that they sold out, but that seems unlikely. I think they pulled it.

Also, yes, I also assume Anna will stay with him. I was just wondering if she at least gets to be mad as hell for a while and drag his ass off to real counseling or if she's supposed to keep sweet because he apologized and so it's all good now.

I can't wait for Jinger, Janna, or Joy-Anna to move out and write a book.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:49 PM on August 20, 2015


It gets worse. Ars is reporting the second dump includes source code for servers and mobile apps.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:53 PM on August 20, 2015


my guesses about being mad and real therapy are both nope. in a similarly devout home i wasn't even allowed to be mad at my abuser. she might actually end up having to repent for not being available enough.
posted by nadawi at 1:53 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


she might actually end up having to repent for not being available enough.
Huh...I suppose this fits with his answering the OKCupid question "Are there any circumstances were someone is obligated to have sex with you?" with a "Yes."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:55 PM on August 20, 2015


she might actually end up having to repent for not being available enough.

...while he was working his cushy job in DC and she was, presumably, keeping the home quivers burning back in Arkansas?

(I'm only guessing about that arrangement, of course, but he seems to have regarded the DC junket as his opportunity to play around.)
posted by Gelatin at 1:57 PM on August 20, 2015


OMG somebody please make an anatomical demon stronghold bot

Ex. "Beelzebub has built a motte and bailey in my pancreas"
"Adramelech has built a lazaret in my basal ganglia"
"Succor Benoth has built a flak tower in my ureter"

Please please please
posted by prize bull octorok at 2:02 PM on August 20, 2015 [16 favorites]


in a similarly devout home i wasn't even allowed to be mad at my abuser. she might actually end up having to repent for not being available enough.

This is religion on drugs.
posted by Talez at 2:03 PM on August 20, 2015


she was in virgina with him, i thought and his accounts cover multiple states. and yes, even if it's ridiculous to think she could have satisfied every single desire (like she was super pregnant and following after a growing brood of kids and maybe not always in the same state and he wanted to sleep with other people and he might be attracted to kids), she still might have to repent - and if not repent, her salvation will be tied to how fully she forgives him.
posted by nadawi at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2015


Ex. "Beelzebub has built a motte and bailey in my pancreas"
"Adramelech has built a lazaret in my basal ganglia
"Succor Benoth has built a flak tower in my ureter"


Beelzebub has a devil put inside for me, for me, for meeeeeeeeee!
posted by Gelatin at 2:05 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


her salvation will be tied to how fully she forgives him

I didn't think it was possible to be more horrified and appalled at that twisted belief system.

I've run Call of Cthulhlu games that had more benign cultists.
posted by Gelatin at 2:08 PM on August 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


I didn't think it was possible to be more horrified and appalled at that twisted belief system.

Oh I'm sure it's brilliant if you're a sadistic straight, white male.
posted by Talez at 2:14 PM on August 20, 2015


CBrachyrhynchos, how is a source code leak worse?
posted by infinitewindow at 2:19 PM on August 20, 2015


if you wanna further be horrified, that's why his victims/sisters spent so much time talking about their forgiveness of him - i have no doubt they were told they could only go to heaven if they were christian enough to forgive. which means if they try to, say, object to their kids being around him, they'll be reminded that they forgave him and again have their own faith and salvation questioned.

and i will never say a good word about josh duggar or give any sort of excuses to him - but i will say about boys brought up in similar cultures - it might seem like they won the lottery, and i do think they generally have a better time of it than the girls - but they are very much hurt by the religion/adults in their church, specifically as it relates to things like porn and masturbation. visit any of the ex-devout religion subreddits to find a bunch of young men discussing the ways they are probably forever harmed by the messaging about their desires and sexuality.
posted by nadawi at 2:19 PM on August 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


OMG somebody please make an anatomical demon stronghold bot

I was hoping for "Birdhouse in Your Soul" rewritten as "Fortress in Your Heart," from Satan's jaunty point of view.
posted by gladly at 2:20 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was hoping for "Birdhouse in Your Soul" rewritten as "Fortress in Your Heart," from Satan's jaunty point of view.

"I'm your tempting fiend
I'm not your only fiend
But I'm a little horny fiend
But really I'm not actually a fiend
But I am."
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:24 PM on August 20, 2015 [15 favorites]


CBrachyrhynchos, how is a source code leak worse?

Both the servers and the clients are now open doors to anyone able to do a code analysis. Potentially there's enough information between the data dump and the client source code to permit attacks on individual phones.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:34 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Nadawi, I've been googling for some time for articles by former quiverfull men, but haven't found any. I kind of assumed that maybe when men leave quiverfull they don't really have to leave. They're allowed to do things differently because they have the authority to decide how they do things, so I thought maybe it's less of a break and so it's not as much as a big life-defining decision, so there are fewer men writing about it. I would be interested in reading some of these accounts by men if you could point me to them.

her salvation will be tied to how fully she forgives him

I would think this, at least, wouldn't be true. These people really do like to natter on and on about how your works/actions don't matter for salvation.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:36 PM on August 20, 2015


i'm not speaking solely about quiverfull but also groups that are basically quiverfull even if they don't always use the term - like super devout mormons and the like.

and whatever the religions claim and go on about, when you listen to women/girls who were abused in their families and the church was used to cover it up, they talk about how they were forced to forgive or repent for their own standing with god (and in their community) - whether that's called salvation, righteousness, or whatever.
posted by nadawi at 2:40 PM on August 20, 2015


i'm leaning away from an external hack towards a malicious insider. this is more than penetrating the dmz and getting a database export. coordinated effort over time with elevated network access. it's possible that some admin credential was compromised via social engineering, then exploited via corporate vpn, but jeez, this is a *lot* of stuff from a lot of different data stores.
posted by j_curiouser at 2:45 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


> i'm leaning away from an external hack towards a malicious insider

That does seem likely, but it's equally likely that it could be something as simple as unencrypted backups on a unsecured S3 (or similar) datastore, or even just using whatever datastore as the backend for so much data. You'd be surprised how many people fail to secure those sources.... As a matter of "research" I've been able to open a few of them in a read-only form and list/copy dies as an anonymous user. It's also really easy to exfiltrate data without anyone ever knowing the difference, as few people keep any logs on the read access to stores like these - and 30GB of data isn't even worth blinking at from the perspective of a large cloud provider, as opposed to exfiltrating 30GB out of someones data center - which would raise a few eyebrows in even some of the least competently run centers, unless it was all slowly trickled over time. I think timestamps could be very telling here.
posted by MysticMCJ at 2:56 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Forgiveness is a huge deal in evangelical doctrine, and in practical application what it means is that victims who don't make a huge show of forgiveness are holding a grudge and not letting God do god stuff to make the sin go away.

That's specifically why the Duggars used that word, why it was a very big deal this his sisters said they forgave him, and why they were absolutely baffled when Discovery and decent human beings didn't immediately start pretending it never happened. After all, they forgave him, and forgive means forget! Clean slate! And it proves that the girls are good girls, sweet girls, godly girls who would never put their own stupid small-minded feelings above God and prolong the sin by holding on to it.

It's an incredibly powerful tool of abuse.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:03 PM on August 20, 2015 [22 favorites]


The sad thing, Lyn Never, is that while Josh's abuse was supposed to be forgotten those girls were never allowed to forget that they, as females, had the responsibility not to lead men into temptation by dressing immodestly. Heavens! The sight of a knee might cause a boy to think bad thoughts and therefore his sin would be on them. Also they were never allowed to forget that purity is everything and even a hug could lead to a couple's downfall. In retrospect it is so bizarre that Jessa and Jill were not allowed to kiss their fiances until they were legally wed because purity is so important yet their brother's sexual abuse was no big deal and easily forgiven and forgotten.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:29 PM on August 20, 2015


If you have "Blame the Wife" you may check that off your Bingo card now. People Magazine:

The source says that from their knowledge of Josh and Anna and the Duggar family, "no way is she leaving him" – adding that it would not come as a surprise if "on some level" Anna tries to "absorb some of the blame."



"Maybe not publicly, ever, but privately, there will be some suggestion of whether or not she should have been more aware of the pressures Josh was under, of the issues he was facing, and how she could have better counseled him or helped him," says the source.

posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:40 PM on August 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


So how exactly is Josh supposed to support the ever growing throng without a patron sponsored "do as I say not as I do" executive position? He's pretty much unemployable except for anonymous minimum to middle wage work.
posted by Talez at 4:06 PM on August 20, 2015


The family owned a car dealership at one point and real estate.
posted by drezdn at 4:08 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


and as fucked up as it is, there are still lots of people who would love to hire him here.
posted by nadawi at 4:10 PM on August 20, 2015


He's got a life time pension in the Republican extended grift machine. He'll turn up in a couple months giving paid speeches, or working for some other shyster lobbying firm, or on some deep red state senator's staff, or a Republican PR firm, or somewhere.

Once you're a made man on the Right, you're made. For life.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:21 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know that the credit card transactions go back 7 years, but does anyone know how far the user accounts themselves date back?
posted by porn in the woods at 4:29 PM on August 20, 2015


HELL YES SATANIC CARDIAC CASTLES!

Satanic Cardiac Castles will be the title of my Italo-disco/giallo/80s-aerobics-VHS-soundtrack mix tape.
posted by acb at 4:30 PM on August 20, 2015


and how she could have better counseled him or helped him

Well, gee, maybe she could have better counseled him on being a faithful husband if he hadn't been concealing his infidelity from her the whole time.

These patriarchal goons never miss a.trick, do they? It's *always* the woman's fault, whether for being too much of a slut or not enough of one.

And by the way, lest anyone think I'm posing as some paragon of virtue, I am not. I've had an affair, and had to work really hard with my wife to get past it, so I know from experience that behaving in an ethical manner is a choice.
posted by Gelatin at 4:33 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


And by the way, lest anyone think I'm posing as some paragon of virtue, I am not. I've had an affair, and had to work really hard with my wife to get past it, so I know from experience that behaving in an ethical manner is a choice.

Just out of interest, if you're comfortable, why did you choose to have it and how do you even start it?
posted by Talez at 4:38 PM on August 20, 2015


Looking over the names on this Dolly Madison data dump and it's amazing that half of you aren't walking around with an insulin drip trailing behind you at all times.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 4:50 PM on August 20, 2015 [8 favorites]


Of course Anna is turning to faith even more. That's all she has left.
posted by qcubed at 4:59 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


why did you choose to have it and how do you even start it?

To make a long story short, it was not an Ashley Madison situation. I was working on the road, and it started by a combination of loneliness and too much booze one night (and, I suppose, knowingly putting myself in a position where something might happen). It continued from a combination of loneliness and being stupid and, yes, liking the sex. My wife found out, I ended it, I changed jobs so as to get off the road, and did a lot of reading (especially here) on communication and boundaries and being ethical. We've both worked hard since then, and right now things are good.

I agree with Dan Savage that extramarital activity is not necessarily bad, but I don't have an excuse for what I did. I think the difference between me and a guy like Dueggar is that I have the tools to understand what happened and how to move forward, which in part means having the empathy to understand how my actions affected others. (And again, I can see that while he enjoys a privileged position in his ultra-patriarchal society, he is deficient in ways he may not even understand.) I wonder, can someone who lectures others on public morality the way he does really have that kind of empathy? Because it doesn't seem so to me.
posted by Gelatin at 6:00 PM on August 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Regarding the source code breach being worse than just a data breach. Bear with me, I'm going to simplify a lot of it in this analogy, but:

Imagine you're a extremely popular writer whose next novel, the conclusion of an epic saga, is eagerly anticipated. You have worked for years on this, plotted out diabolic and riveting twists and shocking reveals, tweaked and pumped passages and scenes to have the maximum impact, and you're proud of what you've done.

The database breach? Let's say that's some person revealing a few of your critical twists that conclude some of the many, many plotlines you've written, like the fact that Jon Snow is actually ascending to the throne and marrying Khaleesi, or that Tyrion is actually an avatar of ancient gods with the power to use a mysterious force that he's training Arya into using.

It sucks, but you can rewrite some of those, maybe. Hide them away, tweak them so the result is different.

The source code release, however? That's the full text of a draft of the novel being released. But it's worse, they've also got all your notes, all your other drafts, so they know some of what you might be planning on changing. But it gets worse. They also know how you think, they know what you've considered, your editor's habits, your habits, and even the habits of your draft readers. In short, now there's nothing you can do to surprise people anymore.

Even if AML wasn't at risk of the lawsuits bankrupting them, even if the reputation hit wasn't going to kill them, losing their source code is the coup de grace. Without major rewrites, to the point of essentially rebuilding their entire website from scratch, all of their patterns are now out in public. It's going to go through one of the worst code reviews ever, by people who have no desire to see them recover. Any fixes they make can be forecasted somewhat, any changes they make to their software and servers can be anticipated.

It's the difference between somebody knowing the layout of the Enterprise with their sensors and being able to hit the weak points, and somebody knowing the exact shield frequencies and warp core signature, so they can track them and take them apart with a scalpel and make them crash into the planet.

Before you ask--how is this different from open source, where all the code is already out for review and a bad actor can poison the well? With most open source projects, there are enough good actors keeping an eye on things, with all code changes being approved by people working on the project; it's more like a Wikipedia article where most people have a similar idea on what they want it to say, and want to add to it, not destroy.
posted by qcubed at 6:24 PM on August 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


The ironic, obscene thing with Duggar is that with all of these proclivities of his now out in the open and roundly, soundly, deservedly being mocked?

It's just going to feed into the culture of victimhood and belief in persecution that fundamentalists cherish and take as their professed dues, casting themselves as martyrs in the mold of the Christ they do not resemble yet ostensibly follow.
posted by qcubed at 6:32 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wasn't interested in snooping into who used the service because that's creepy and I don't really care. I'm definitely going to seek out the source code because that is interesting. Thug Geek life.
posted by double block and bleed at 6:33 PM on August 20, 2015


At least they hashed their passwords. Time will tell if they hashed them correctly, because if they didn't, those might soon be cracked as well.
posted by qcubed at 6:35 PM on August 20, 2015


The ironic, obscene thing with Duggar is that with all of these proclivities of his now out in the open and roundly, soundly, deservedly being mocked?

It's just going to feed into the culture of victimhood and belief in persecution that fundamentalists cherish and take as their professed dues, casting themselves as martyrs in the mold of the Christ they do not resemble yet ostensibly follow.


Being outed as an incestuous child molester didn't take this guy down. Why would revelations of adultery? Nothing can touch their world view, it is iron cast.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:56 PM on August 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


Qcubed and Cbrachyrhynchos, I can see that the second breach is worse for AshleyMadison.com. I'm still not sure how it's worse for the end users.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:27 PM on August 20, 2015


at the same time - at a micro view - the molestation becoming public, and the ways it was covered up, really did tank their political support in my area. the duggars pretty much single-handedly tanked our anti-discrimination ordinance (through bathroom panic, which is extra disgusting considering what they were hiding) and then through their money influenced our elections in a way that will take years to undo. but! we're taking another crack at the ordinance and now the duggars voices have been completely silent - they aren't going to fuck it up this time (it's still close and we're still nervous and there are other issues - like the dude they got on city council is trying to tank it in their stead). so - yeah, the duggars have huckabee's fix-it pr firm and they're supporting by big organizations, but i think their ability to publicly sway things is going to be difficult to regain - at least it hast been in my little corner of the country.
posted by nadawi at 7:45 PM on August 20, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm still not sure how it's worse for the end users.

It really depends on what ends up being discovered. As I mentioned before, one of the immediate things I can think of is the password hashing--ALM looks like it at least did that, which is the absolute minimum anyone should do with a password.

However, it's also something that's really easy to fuck up. The problem with hashing is that enough passwords have been breached that there are things called "rainbow tables" that allow brute-force attacks--so if the passwords haven't been salted, it's easy to crack the hashes, meaning the passwords are likely to be released quickly.

If they have been salted, then the question is whether the implementation that ALM used was any good--because while some best practices are known, the devil is in the details; an error here might mean the whole edifice will come tumbling down, again meaning the passwords are likely to be released.

That's one huge problem with a source code release--the odds of people finding vulnerabilities like that have just skyrocketed, because now people can see exactly how ALM hashed the passwords.
posted by qcubed at 7:51 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


AM member here. It seems I have been "exposed"

Go ahead, look me up. I am male. Hints: Username includes "Vandelay". Gmail address includes "slightly"

It looks like I'm about 200 replies late and have only skimmed comments here so far but am a little surprised that the balance of conversation seems to be leaning more towards security than morality. Could be wrong.

I am on the list. I don't care because I have nothing to hide; I was separated when I joined, and had grown tired of traditional dating sites. Judge me as you choose.

I'm writing to testify that there are good people on there. I never would have dreamed of cheating while married but met women who were good people but trapped. One who DID separate from her husband, and her son threatened to commit suicide unless she came back. Another who quit her life to get her daughter through cancer therapy, only to find out she has a learning disability. They were roommates at best, due to circumstance.

Without writing a longer essay, I can assure you that these are good people who were trapped and DESERVED some happiness. I provided it and we remain friends.

Of course there also plenty of fakes, escorts and selfish people.

And membership is a little bit Hotel California: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. So I'd be happy if AM went down. But it doesn't matter because it would only be the neck of the Hydra.

I had moral qualms signing up even though I was a free agent. But the people I met suggests there is an argument to be made for a resource like this. And the demand is undeniable.

Hey Metafilter, I can have this comment scrubbed from the internet for $19, right?
posted by raider at 8:19 PM on August 20, 2015 [19 favorites]


HAIL HYDRA.

Why are you surprised about the security vs. morality thing on MeFi, out of curiosity?
posted by qcubed at 8:43 PM on August 20, 2015


I would venture self-regenerating heads.
posted by clavdivs at 8:46 PM on August 20, 2015


On the server end, it increases the likelihood that some other group will discover a different vulnerability or a different data table that's even more compromising for users. Assuming AM closes this hole, there's no guarantee that someone doesn't have another hole. Or someone could keep a back door open for the purpose of spoofing and spearfishing. (Which is part of what happened to Gawker a few years back.)

On the client end, worst case scenario might that the AM phone client can be a vector for privilege escalation. Probably a middling case is that the client can be tricked into giving up sensitive information such as passwords or conversation logs.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:51 PM on August 20, 2015


AM member here. It seems I have been "exposed"

I have so many questions for you.

Why AM, as opposed to any other dating site - what did AM offer that those other sites did not? Specifically, why a site that built itself on the (purported) opportunity to breach a personal trust? And why did you think that a site built on breach of trust could be, well, trusted?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:38 PM on August 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for stepping up and sharing your story, raider.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 9:55 PM on August 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Thanks for stepping up and sharing your story, raider.

Yes, I should have said that also. Thank you.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:59 PM on August 20, 2015


Why AM, as opposed to any other dating site - what did AM offer that those other sites did not? Specifically, why a site that built itself on the (purported) opportunity to breach a personal trust? And why did you think that a site built on breach of trust could be, well, trusted?

I'm not raider but I'd answer the question about provider trustworthiness by pointing to the huge underground economy that delivers drugs and sex to people. You don't expect your neighborhood pot dealer to turn his client list over the police, not that they'd care, or some sex worker to call your wife up the next day. Their business depends on discretion. Unfortunately for AM's clients it seems that they weren't particularly trustworthy or forward thinking. I don't quite understand why people upthread are talking about AM as if they still have a viable business going forward. They're done.

More generally people give personal information to companies that sell oil, liquor, or tobacco. Those companies' products can kill you or the planet but you don't ask why you trust them.
posted by rdr at 10:36 PM on August 20, 2015


You don't expect your neighborhood pot dealer to turn his client list over the police, not that they'd care, or some sex worker to call your wife up the next day.

I wouldn't give my pot dealer my credit card, or my address, or maybe even my full name. I'd pay him in anonymous cash. My pot dealer would be unlikely to keep a detailed log of the exact time I used his services, or collect my GPS location info. I wouldn't give my pot dealer my work email address, or contact him using it.

He'd have my phone number, but that's about it.

The difference between the pot dealer and AM is that people instinctively take measures to protect themselves when using the pot dealer or other unlawful, underground or stigmatised services, that they didn't take with AM.

The difference between AM and the pot dealer, is that AM is/was legal and it's users shouldn't have to take those steps. But what surprises me is that given the obvious social and interpersonal ramifications of having this information get out, so many people took no steps at all to protect themselves, not even using a throwaway email account or at the very least, not using their fucking work email addresses.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:08 PM on August 20, 2015


My point was not that we hand credit cards over to our pot dealers. It was that there are industries that provide illicit services that we trust within their spheres. Just because some people find AM's business immoral doesn't mean it's necessarily untrustworthy. Turns out they were untrustworthy. Most likely because the people running the company were greedy and dumb.
posted by rdr at 2:46 AM on August 21, 2015


Thank you for sharing your story, raider. I don't condemn because in the first place I don't have standing to, and in the second place because I agree with Dan Savage that extramarital relations are not inherently wrong. As you point out, much depends on the circumstance.

Speaking of Savage, in a post describing why he disagrees with outing the site's users unless it's a moralizing public hypocrite like Duggar, Savage has sympathetic words that echo my own perception of his pathos:

Josh is a mess, thanks to his parents, a sad man torn between what he was both programmed to believe about sex (and imaginary friends) and the actual sex (and the actual friends) he wanted to have.
posted by Gelatin at 3:33 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


The thing that makes me most curious about this is the hacker(s)... they must have seen the panicked posts from people considering suicide once the breach was announced, before anything had even been released, the people worried about being outed (and possibly executed) as gay, the many people who talked about signing up out of curiosity but never doing anything and terrified of losing their families or jobs as a result. I don't think it's possible that they announced this and then didn't follow social media and discussion sites to see what they had wrought from the first announcement.

So what is the profile of this person or these people? Sociopathic? Or just young and/or incredibly narcissistic? What is the real motivation? This massive, massive dump seems ridiculous if it's just about the delete-all-info charge. With all the data we now know they have, they could easily have punished the company and founder with all sorts of stuff without exposing individual users. That makes me think it's more about the "sin" – but maybe it's just about the power. I would love to read the spitballing of a criminal profiler (though I realize this is a totally fuzzy field, and there is very little info on which to base conclusions here).
posted by taz at 5:09 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


So what is the profile of this person or these people? Sociopathic? Or just young and/or incredibly narcissistic?

Yes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:26 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, and a question! Looking at what is supposed to be worldwide distribution by gender balance*, it seems like India has more AM female users than most other places (yellow areas = less than 85% male, according to the explanation). Any guesses on why this might be, if true (or why this might be a reporting error of some kind)?

* this is the image I'm seeing right now
posted by taz at 5:43 AM on August 21, 2015


Years ago, in the late 1990s, my boss handed down a personal data device to me. He scrubbed it, but he left behind some info that would be useful to me, e.g., the office phone directory. Somewhere in the work section, he also left the contact info for escorts in some of the cities he visited frequently; I imagine he buried it there so his wife wouldn't stumble over it. The next day he borrowed the device from me on a flimsy pretext and deleted it.

Everyone loved this guy. He was talented, charismatic, handsome, and his leadership did wonders for us. And I knew this delicious ugly secret about him, but I never said a word. He's gone onto greatness elsewhere and remains well-regarded in our profession. But I got curious and looked up his personal email address in the AML database: yup.
posted by carmicha at 6:42 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


i understand the impulse to feel sympathetic things towards josh duggar - everyone who grows up in a system like that is a victim in some way - but he became an abuser and he is raising his kids like he was raised. i will save my sympathy for his victims (a group that is likely still growing in numbers).
posted by nadawi at 6:56 AM on August 21, 2015 [6 favorites]




So what is the profile of this person or these people? Sociopathic? Or just young and/or incredibly narcissistic?

They haven't released the photos. That website had thousands and thousands of photos, and not one has appeared so far.

We know they have to have that, and I wonder if they will release them. I sort of suspect not, because it wouldn't add anything except salaciousness - the data store they did release contained all that is needed to be sure of who was in it. And the data they dumped yesterday was designed to punish the CEO and, really, noone else.

But we will see, I guess.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:14 AM on August 21, 2015


Head of Louisiana GOP among those in Ashley Madison data dump
Louisiana GOP Executive Director Jason Doré said Thursday that his name was among those released as part of the Ashley Madison data dump earlier this week because he used the site for “opposition research.”
posted by Nelson at 8:46 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Women are his opposition, I suppose, so that'd be one way to put it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:02 AM on August 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


They haven't released the photos. That website had thousands and thousands of photos, and not one has appeared so far.

That seems like a small silver lining for the people caught up in this. As for the dumps, I wonder why they didn't do them in reverse order. Even if you only release part of the 20GB dump that's still plenty to completely fuck Ashley Madison if your real concern is that they're dishonest assholes who are fleecing their users. Given the info they had from thoroughly owning the company's systems, they had to have known that trying to blackmail them with the threat of releasing user data wouldn't cause them to do a damn thing. I guess making it user data gets you better headlines, but the collateral damage even without photos is considerable.

Of course, if you release the company's source code and the code sucks in terms of security (which seems not unlikely), then you'd end up with some/all users getting screwed over anyway, but still.
posted by sparkletone at 9:18 AM on August 21, 2015


Nelson: "said Thursday that his name was among those released as part of the Ashley Madison data dump earlier this week because he used the site for “opposition research.”"

I was talking about this yesterday and said this is a great, non-career-ending excuseplanation for the first guy who says it. Everyone else -- even if they were legit doing oppo -- is going to look like a bandwagon-jumping liar. He's smart to get out ahead of it, and he's smart to admit to doing something sleazy (oppo research on sexcapades), because it obscures the question of the sleazier thing (having affairs). Don't know antyhing about the guy to know if he was really doing oppo, but totally plausible explanation. For the first guy.

There are two dozen politicians out there now cheating on their wives through AM and going, "DAMMIT, WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT FIRST?"
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:30 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


it makes absolutely zero sense to do oppo research with your real email.
posted by nadawi at 9:40 AM on August 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


Louisiana GOP Executive Director Jason Doré said Thursday that his name was among those released as part of the Ashley Madison data dump earlier this week because he used the site for “opposition research.”

Um, he was trying to arrange an affair with an electoral opponent?

His kink is not my kink...
posted by ocschwar at 10:03 AM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember when opposition research used to be called polling the electorate.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:17 AM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


So on Twitter the other day, it was suggested by a fellow Mefite that the release of the list was disappointing because it offered proof that the Ashley Madison database wasn't just the same five guys catfishing each other, and for me, that became an imagined fictional world in which CIA data analysts and spies, since technology does so much of the heavy lifting these days in the spy world, were bored and it was actually the same group of spies but none of them knew it.

This idea of a world where everybody with those .gov addresses are actually trying to do opposition research is so much more fantastic and fucked up than the fictional world we came up with. 2015!
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:25 AM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


As for the dumps, I wonder why they didn't do them in reverse order.

My guess is that it's because the database of user information is easily verifiable as legitimate by third parties. Design documents, source code and executive mailboxes could just conceivably be faked, which AM would have doubtlessly claimed if it the second dump had come first. The first dump establishes that yes, we really did have total access to their servers, and here's our public key to prove that the second dump comes from the same source.
posted by figurant at 10:29 AM on August 21, 2015


"said Thursday that his name was among those released as part of the Ashley Madison data dump earlier this week because he used the site for "opposition research.""

I have here in my hand a list of 205 . . . a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Ashley Madison website and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department...
posted by klarck at 11:02 AM on August 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


> But — and this is critical — the price you pay should be proportionate to what you did.
-- Amanda Marcotte, (supra)

Didn't Gilbert and Sullivan write a song to that very point?


> Cheating isn’t the public’s business in most cases, because it’s not a violation of the social
> contract.... cheating is about violating a deeply personal agreement between two people.
-- AM (supra)

What on earth are you on about, Amanda? Society has no legitimate interest in encouraging the sort of citizen that honors personal commitments to others and discouraging the sort that doesn't? Only if society also has no legitimate interest in maintaining itself as a going concern, because a society that is running short of the first sort is a society that is ceasing to be a society. Rapidly.

I'm not greatly worried, though. The schadenfreude over Dugger (which I share) is better evidence of how people really feel about sneaky violations of personal commitment than any amount of OMGPrivacy pearl-clutching. (Speaking just for myself I feel exactly the same way about coercive violations, as in "Yeah I'm getting ass on the side and if you don't like it you--middle-aged, no work history, no skills--can feel free to walk out on me and support the kids yourself." If there were a big database of guys like that and hackers were trying to hack into it and out every one of those guys and there was some way I could help I would do it in a heartbeat. Half a heartbeat.)


> So maybe I’m the one who needs a lecture about not throwing stones. But maybe not.
-- AM (in linked essay)

All prosy dull society sinners,
Who chatter and bleat and bore,
Are sent to hear sermons
From mystical Germans
Who preach from ten till four.


> I agree with Dan Savage that extramarital relations are not inherently wrong. As you point out,
> much depends on the circumstance. -Gelatin

Yeah. I have not forgotten that Savage's own circumstance was that he didn't get around to telling his spouse Terry Miller that he (Miller) had married into a non-monogamous relationship whether he liked it or not until they had been married for several years (nuptials in Canada, 2005) and already had an adopted kid, adopted before the marriage.
posted by jfuller at 11:13 AM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I have not forgotten that Savage's own circumstance was that he didn't get around to telling his spouse Terry Miller that he (Miller) had married into a non-monogamous relationship whether he liked it or not until they had been married for several years (nuptials in Canada, 2005) and already had an adopted kid, adopted before the marriage.

Which invalidates the point that not all extramarital relations are inherently wrong how, exactly?
posted by Gelatin at 11:30 AM on August 21, 2015


the whole "not all extramarital affairs are inherently wrong" is a little like "some people get on the sex offender database for peeing in public while drunk or sleeping with their 17yr old girlfriend" - certainly technically true, but no where near broadly true.

and i'm coming at this from the position of being the mistress a few times - none of those dudes had good reasons, but every single one of them was super convinced they did.
posted by nadawi at 11:36 AM on August 21, 2015


It's my fault for being unclear -- in "extramarital affairs" I include those conducted with the spouse's consent. I'll certainly grant that they're in the minority, but some people do have sex with people other than their spouse with their spouse's consent.

In any case, I'd argue that society can encourage the sort of citizen that honors personal commitments to others and discourage the sort that doesn't and simultaneously believe that making the sort that doesn't wear the scarlet A is going too far. (After all, part of Hawthorne's point was that Hester Prynne's lover was a hypocrite, just like Duggar, and yet went undiscovered.)
posted by Gelatin at 11:48 AM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


that's not really a broadly accepted definition of affair - that's usually described as being in an open marriage or being poly.

and the scarlet letter is so misunderstood and such a good book - it's often approached as if it's purely surface puritan literature instead of what it is, a great work of romanticism. which has nothing to do with your point, i realize - just, i love that book.
posted by nadawi at 11:54 AM on August 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


that's not really a broadly accepted definition of affair - that's usually described as being in an open marriage or being poly.

I agree, but I don't think society is very accepting of open marriage or polyamory and so many people who practice such hardly advertise the fact. Which is one reason why I don't think non-public figures who are caught having, or soliciting, sex with someone other than their spouse should be held up to shame by the entire Internet.
posted by Gelatin at 12:01 PM on August 21, 2015


i'm just saying that when dan savage says some affairs are ok, he's not discussing open marriages, and that under that rubric, far less are ok than the lovers of dan savage like to admit when they quote him on that. i'm not advocating anyone other than moralizing pedophiles be held up for shame.
posted by nadawi at 12:03 PM on August 21, 2015


We don't disagree on that point, nadawi. Except perhaps that, as Duggar wailed publicly about gay marriage somehow undermining the great state of holy matrimony, and moreover lobbied heavily to deny others the right to marry, I'd happily hold his hypocrisy up to ridicule even if he had never molested his sisters.
posted by Gelatin at 12:09 PM on August 21, 2015


lol as he has personally harmed lgbt people in my town, i'm obviously on board with that.
posted by nadawi at 12:10 PM on August 21, 2015


Which is one reason why I don't think non-public figures who are caught having, or soliciting, sex with someone other than their spouse should be held up to shame by the entire Internet.

Fundamentally, I'll leave the judgement of what happens in a relationship to the people actually involved in it. I see where you're going with regards to Ms. Marcotte's assertion that affairs aren't crimes against society, and broadly, I think she is correct. That other people manage their relationships poorly or whatever isn't really my concern - although, I agree that it would be better on the whole if they did not do that.

So, yeah, I'm not going to judge most people for their affairs. Doing so fairly would require having more information than I am really interested in having. People rationalize all sorts of shit and respond to various stresses and anxieties in.. suboptimal ways. I haven't always been the bestest person to be dating/livingwith/married to either. I didn't get to where I am without those mistakes. People gonna people. I won't throw stones.

That said, people who preach long and hard about family values and whatnot really deserve to get called out for their shitty anti-family behavior.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2015 [5 favorites]


Like the guy who snuck into his wife's pee? Paid account.

Yeah, I can't not schadenfreude that.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]




Man, Josh Duggar's list of deep dark affair desires are so straight up fluffy bunny I can't work up any schadenfreude at all. Gentleness? Sensual Massage? Cuddling & Hugging? goddamn, Bubble Bath for 2? It's like I'm so used to the secret unspeakable lusts of men revolving around acts that can be perceived as degrading women in the overall cultural context that it's a relief to see somebody whose secret fantasies are so soothing, even if it could be just another front.

In the context of someone who molested young girls, I'm not sure you should take any comfort in this.
posted by almostmanda at 1:33 PM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


The DMCA request against the Vice reporter is on Chilling Effects now. It names three tweets and describes the original work as names of employees, shareholder information, and bank information. Ie: three things specific to Ashley Madison the company, not its users.

So far this is the only recent DMCA notice from Avid Life (Ashley Madison's parent company) on Chilling Effects. A couple of others show up for Avid Dating Life but they are from 2011 and 2012. A search for www.ashleymadison.com should also turn up any others.

Bottom line, I'm not seeing evidence of broad DMCA action to suppress the story. Just the one incident. It's possible more notices will show up, of course.
posted by Nelson at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2015


> (After all, part of Hawthorne's point was that Hester Prynne's lover was a hypocrite, just like
Duggar, and yet went undiscovered.)

Indeed. Dimmesdale, creepy piece of work that he was, at least had the grace to be aware of his hypocricy and feel miserably guilty about it (along with all the other aspects and effects of his sin) before getting outed. Unlike our D-person. In fact, now I think of it, Rev. Arthur doesn't get outed, does he? He at long last (long long last, after a full nineteenth-century moral novel's worth of handwringing over it) screws up the courage to out himself and repent in public. Which (as underlined by Roger Chillingworth's repeated “Thou hast escaped me! Thou hast escaped me!”) I have always taken as Hawthorne's statement that true (and public, as tha AA people demand) repentance is redemption. After all it isn't as if the moment of redemption is always or even usually a moment of miraculous happiness. Arthur Dimmesdale's certainly isn't; for all repentant, redeemed souls must still look back on the kind of lives they have led and the damage they have done to others. If there is joy, I imagine it as the sort of joy someone who has dug himself into a deep hole with a shovel might feel when the thought strikes him, "Oh. Suddenly I get it! I should put down the shovel and stop digging!
posted by jfuller at 2:41 PM on August 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


Here's me committing something in much better taste for the thread than my previous comment, even if they are not thoughts I came up with myself:

The Unequal Consequences of Transparency (siderea.livejournal.com) has some very good things to say about the intersection between privacy, moral judgement, oppression and classism, which starts with:
It is not uncommon – I'm hearing it yet again in the wake of the Ashley Madison breach – for the argument to be floated that privacy violations are just not going to be that big a deal in the future, because society is becoming more tolerant and less judgmental. This is offered as a reason why maybe we don't have to worry about privacy so much, as society becomes more "transparent".

This is an argument from privilege and ignorance.

It has always been the case that moral censoriousness has fallen more harshly on oppressed minorities. The classic example is the double standard about sexual promiscuity that finds it comely in men ("studs") and condemnable in women ("sluts"). The sexualities of oppressed populations are policed more strictly than those of the sexualities of those who who oppress them, and exploited as evidence justifying oppression. The consequences for the outing of sexual behavior or proclivities will always fall more harshly on the shoulders of peoples whose sexual behavior is stigmatized (e.g. gays) or ascribed additional condemnatory meanings (e.g. blacks).
posted by foxfirefey at 2:56 PM on August 21, 2015 [4 favorites]


Appreciate the civil comments following mine. Don't mean to get too chatty but some replies for the curious:

First, I really would be interested to see if anyone could find me and post something to demonstrate they have done so based on the clues I gave.

Why are you surprised about the security vs. morality thing on MeFi, out of curiosity?

Because alongside the nerdy streak, Metafilter is also very good at judgmentalism. Or at least a segment. Must have been past their bedtime but again I didn't read all previous comments carefully.

Why AM, as opposed to any other dating site - what did AM offer that those other sites did not? Specifically, why a site that built itself on the (purported) opportunity to breach a personal trust? And why did you think that a site built on breach of trust could be, well, trusted?

1. Honestly I sought and found NSA (in the parlance) sex and yes, companionship. Couldn't afford a Corvette and peeps on other sites were looking for a white knight. Not ready for that in my situation. Wanted to make hay while the sun shines. And hair remains.

2. They're a business. It's in their interest to protect info but as everyone found out the hard way, not hard enough. See also: Sony, US gov't etc


Enough about me. Didn't know about the Jason Doré thing, love it! The Pete Townshend defense!
posted by raider at 4:01 PM on August 21, 2015


The Pete Townshend defense!

ugghh...i *hate* that i know what that means.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:12 PM on August 21, 2015


foxfirefey approvingly quotes siderea.livejournal.com:

> It has always been the case that moral censoriousness has fallen more harshly on oppressed
> minorities. The classic example is the double standard about sexual promiscuity that finds
> it comely in men ("studs") and condemnable in women ("sluts").

Then I hope sideria is aware of (and tickled pink by) the 6:1 male:female ratio of the now outed membership at Ashley Madison that _Mona_ pointed out upthread.

Six guys looking for adulterous screwing for every one woman looking. You know, that sounds about right.
posted by jfuller at 6:30 PM on August 21, 2015


Six guys looking *on AM* for adulterous screwing for every one woman looking *on AM*

careful with that stat, eugene
posted by j_curiouser at 6:57 PM on August 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


The ultimate monster could create a system that combines the two sets of data, crawls the Facebook data for relationship information, and automatically sends messages to partners of people found on AshleyMadison.

What about one that works its way through your Gmail contact list & tells you who had an account? Cause I've seen that one.
posted by scalefree at 8:27 PM on August 21, 2015


What about one that works its way through your Gmail contact list & tells you who had an account? Cause I've seen that one.
Really? Yuck. I'm as gossipy and judgmental as the next person, but I don't want to know if my co-workers or random acquaintances are having affairs or trying to have affairs or thinking about having affairs. That just seems like it would be uncomfortable.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:43 PM on August 21, 2015


[Couple of comments deleted. Appreciate that you're trying to be elliptical about it, but let's just not get into questionable territory about whether something counts as doxxing of other members here -- if you want to be in touch with another member directly, go ahead.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:38 PM on August 21, 2015


I searched through the raw data dumps. I know three people IRL on Ashley Madison.

One is the sleazy guy from my old job. Surprise.

One is me, from 2012 when I was depressed and unhappy because my partner had been diagnosed with a chronic debilitating illness. Eventually I halted my wandering eye, told my partner I needed help, and got therapy. We're happier for it.

And the third person is my partner, who signed up while we were engaged and living together and I was paying for school. This account was active through the diagnosis date.

So what now? There's a lot of calculation and risk analysis going on in my head, more than the Avid Life Media execs ever used. I'm leaning towards keeping my trap shut unless it looks like my partner is seriously stressing about this (which I'm seeing signs of).
posted by Ashley Sockison at 10:48 PM on August 21, 2015


Finally, more celebrity accounts uncovered.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:22 AM on August 22, 2015 [3 favorites]


> careful with that stat, eugene

Hokay, I'll expand that. Carefully. Six guys looking *on AM* for adulterous screwing for every one woman looking *on AM*. That sounds about right to me for the world in general, online or off.
posted by jfuller at 11:45 AM on August 22, 2015


Some clients are likely jerks but some are likely in bad situations with potentially violent stalkers or partners.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:52 AM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The AM website, the use of, the data leaking and the continuing fallout, remind me again of this observation from a local in the Outer Hebrides.
posted by Wordshore at 11:53 AM on August 22, 2015


Ashley Madison Targeted by Class-Action Lawsuit in Canada Over Privacy Breach

Ashley Madison adultery website faces $578m class action over data breach

Two Canadian law firms have filed a $578m class-action lawsuit against the companies that run Ashley Madison after a hacker group’s data breach exposed some 39 million memberships in the adultery website earlier this week.

Charney Lawyers and Sutts, Strosberg, both of Ontario, said Friday that they filed the lawsuit on behalf of Canadians who subscribed to Ashley Madison and whose personal information was disclosed to the public. The website, with its slogan “Life is short. Have an affair,” is marketed to facilitate extramarital relationships.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in the Ontario superior court of justice, targets Avid Dating Life and Avid Life Media, the Toronto-based companies that run AshleyMadison.com. Its class-action status “still needs to be certified by the court”, the statement says...

The plaintiff is Eliot Shore, an Ottawa widower. Shore said he joined the website for a short time in search of companionship after he lost his wife to breast cancer. He said he never cheated and never met up with any members of the site.

Ted Charney, of Charney Lawyers, told Associated Press it was the first class-action suit filed against the companies in Canada.

Missouri lawyers have filed a class-action lawsuit in a US district court seeking more than $5m in damages. US lawyers filed a statement of claim late last month on behalf of an unnamed female plaintiff who said she ponied up $19 so Ashley Madison would purge her personal information from its website in a process called a “paid-delete”

posted by a lungful of dragon at 3:51 PM on August 22, 2015 [1 favorite]






The .sucks TLD is having its day in the sun; there's a new search engine hosted on an obviously-named .sucks site that's publishing a lot more of the data in the leak than just whether an email is in the database or not. Nearly full user records. The search engine seems down right now but Google has cached one of its result pages and they contain email, profile details like height and ethnicity, latitude/longitude, "signup IP", and a bunch of credit card info (but not the CC number or expiration date).

There's also a Reddit post from someone saying they found their hashed password "off of one of the AM search sites". I think that's probably a different site.

It was inevitable user-friendly search tools would come out, I guess the time is now. OTOH I've been surprised not to see more sensationalist news articles about famous people in the database.
posted by Nelson at 8:12 AM on August 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been surprised not to see more sensationalist news articles about famous people in the database.

I wonder if in addition to feeling safe because he thought he had deleted his account, Josh Duggar assumed there would be bigger fish in the database and no one would take notice of him.

I suspect that A-list celebrities don't need Ashley Madison to find affair partners, and couldn't risk it even if they did. Also, assuming everyone else famous has the sense to use a burner email address and fake name, you would need credit card billing addresses to find any particular person, I would think.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:36 PM on August 23, 2015


A fascinating post from the person who created Have I been pwned?, which checks whether your account was contained in any of multiple data breaches, including Ashley Madison: Here’s what Ashley Madison members have told me, describing questions and concerns he's heard about the AM data and its searchability.

This is just a sample, read the post for much more.
  • Lack of support from Avid Life Media
    This is one of the things that struck me most about the entire incident – the very poor communication from Avid Life. At the time of writing, there has been no direct communication with members that I’m aware of, no notification on the front page of www.ashleymadison.com and in fact the site still talks about “discreet encounters”, “trusted security” and “100% discreet service”
  • Lack of tech savvy
  • I honestly found it hard to even understand some of these questions as the mechanics of databases and hackers and all sorts of other foreign concepts went over the heads of many people. That’s totally understandable too and it just goes to show how everyday folks have been caught up in this mess.
  • Falling victim to malware and other online scams
    in desperation to find information, some people were resorting to downloading what they thought was the Ashley Madison breach, but evidently was something different altogether
  • Requests to search by fields other than email
    Searching by zip code is a perfect example – people don’t want to do this to check their own exposure, they want this feature to discover a range of people.
  • Please erase me from the internet
    You can understand the sentiment and for those who don’t get how the web works, this would appear to be an entirely reasonable request: "I wonder if you could offer advice for trying to hide it again, take it off, remove it etc. or can this even be done?"
  • The impact of public search services
    Multiple services designed for anyone to search anyone else’s email address quickly appeared and naturally, were quickly abused: "So got a call, from our church leaders yesterday, saying my husband's work email was on [redacted], oh my!" What. The. Fuck.
  • Alternate purposes for membership
    Further to the previous point, there are other scenarios in which someone might create an account as well: "As a divorce attorney who often searched AM for my clients (and found a couple of cheaters there), I think it should be addressed that there are most likely women who merely joined AM as guests without paying or ever actually engaging- for the sole purpose of attempting to catch a cheating spouse."
  • Incorrect conclusions
    An outcome I hadn’t foreseen was some people thinking that any result for an email address on HIBP meant a presence on Ashley Madison: "Look dude, my wife want a divorce now since my email shows 'owned' when she put it in. Can you explain to her it's not for the Ashley Madison hack its checking the all pwned sites."
posted by jjwiseman at 8:41 AM on August 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


I bet you could do an FPP just on the responses of churches to the AM breach.
posted by jjwiseman at 8:44 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Police in Canada are saying that there are two apparent suicides that are linked to the AM leak.

Past the horrifying nature of that, there is this lighter(?) note towards the end of the post:
The unfolding of the hack was also detailed at the conference - from the moment on 12 July when several Avid Life Media employees logged in to their computers and were confronted by a message from the hackers.

This message was accompanied by music - AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", said Mr Evans.
posted by sparkletone at 8:46 AM on August 24, 2015 [3 favorites]


Make that three :(
posted by sparkletone at 9:40 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid we'll get at least one murder.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:03 AM on August 24, 2015


Huh...So I confess that last night I went to the predictably named .sucks web site and put in nothing but a city name. I was curious to just see what the data looked like, how many local people would be on it, and what kind of info was actually there. I figured a city name is big enough that the risk of encountering someone I actually knew would be very small, because seriously, I don't want to know about the private business of people I know.

So what I saw was

1. At least in one city, there are probably about 50 people with no credit card name for every one with a credit card name. If I understand correctly that you need to pay to contact people, then it seems that just about everyone is just looking around curiously and not actually making any contact.

2. I did see someone I know(ish), I think. A guy I went to high school with though barely knew. In fact, it's possible we never even met. I only know (of) him because I have a friend who was friends with him so his name comes up from time to time. But the name (credit card confirmed), date of birth and neighbourhood all match. Is it him? I don't know. It's not a super common name, but pretty common among two ethnicities that are both well represented in this city. He seems to also have two accounts. The sign up addresses are one gmail and one live.com but both actually appear to be work-related (like maybe he's a freelancer and these are what he uses for business). So, of course, once you've found something, prurient curiousity takes hold. Today I pulled out a yearbook to try to remember who this guy is/was, and I think the spelling of the name might actually be different in the yearbook vs. AM. If it is, then I don't think it would be the same guy. But of course, now that I want, for no reason other than prurient curiosity, to check that the site seems to be down.

I think it goes without saying, that regardless of whether or not it appears to be him if the site ever comes back up, I do not intend to do anything with this information other than think "Huh...I can't believe I found someone I kind of sort of know." to myself. I don't know anything about the guy's life now, not even if he's married...I think our mutual friend might have said he's married...I dunno...Anyway, none of my business, I know. But weird that given the number of people on there I should maybe run across a familiar one. It's not like I went through pages and pages, either. I might have seen a total of 20 names; two of them this guy's.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:29 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lots of easily-traced professionals in my community, including co-workers, professors, policemen, doctors and veterinarians.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:42 AM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ashley Madison's CEO Wanted to Hack a Competing Site to Steal Emails

WHAT. (But also OF COURSE.)
posted by sparkletone at 1:18 PM on August 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


Krebs: "Also, the Impact Team still have not released data from the other Avid Life Media property they claim to have hacked — Establishedmen.com, a “sugar daddy” site that claims to connect wealthy men with willing young women."
posted by zarq at 2:19 PM on August 24, 2015


anna's brother flips out in the comments under jessa duggar's fb post about forgiveness - a summary, he has offered to pay for anna and the kids to come to his place. he says her parents are encouraging her to stay primarily because they're concerned about the appearance of a divorce. he seems to think that josh will just keep repeating these behaviors and that he's not in the least bit sorry.
posted by nadawi at 3:06 PM on August 24, 2015 [11 favorites]


It's almost a shame he is being so vulgar in his language, though. If he wants to convince Anna to leave he should stick with focussing on the difference between confessing and being caught and also this business about whether Josh has reached "true brokenness" which I'm guessing is the in-culture framing of he's-just-sorry-he-got-caught. If he can make an argument from within their religious beliefs for leaving, that's a lot more likely to work than crapping all over everything she values.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:29 PM on August 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


yeah - it definitely would work better, but that type of grace is hard to model when you've been harmed in the way he has. you see this in other ex-devout religious communities. some people can still come to people where they're at, and some people are damaged to the point that they're stuck on angry. i've been in both spots. i know which one works better but i'm not always perfect and expressing it.
posted by nadawi at 6:31 PM on August 24, 2015


Amusing: The TERRIBLE (you seriously cannot believe how terrible) AM movie script.

Not amusing: Scams and blackmail have started.
posted by sparkletone at 3:18 AM on August 25, 2015


rentboy.com has been raided, and ceo/employees arrested. posting here because it seems like if their databases become part of public legal actions, it could make a pretty awful splash.
posted by nadawi at 12:08 PM on August 25, 2015


    HANNAH
It's never too late. I have
just the anal bead for you.

posted by infinitewindow at 3:42 PM on August 25, 2015


Trustify sends the unsolicited e-mails to any address that was included in the Ashley Madison dump and was later searched for on the Trustify service [emphasis added]

Called it. Putting your own email address into any of these shady "check yourself" sites is being unwise a second time. Here's how you check: if you had an Ashley Madison account, it's compromised. Saved you a click.
posted by ctmf at 4:58 PM on August 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


To increase the evil, they should add "This address has been looked up ___ times" to the data, but report double the actual number, just to terrify people.
posted by ctmf at 5:25 PM on August 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ashley Madison is now offering a $500K reward for information on the hackers.

They really have no idea who did this, do they?

In any case, the chances of ALM still having $500K when the dust settles are rapidly decreasing.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:31 PM on August 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is there insurance that would cover something like this? Liability insurance? I mean they're never making another penny, ever, but what are the chances they get to keep the pennies they have?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:44 PM on August 25, 2015


Is there insurance that would cover something like this? Liability insurance? I mean they're never making another penny, ever, but what are the chances they get to keep the pennies they have?

Cyber liability insurance is a thing, and has been for a while. But it's certainly a growing market.

Did AM have any? Who knows? You'd have to be an idiot to not take out cover while running an online business, especially this online business. But AM does seem to be run by idiots, so...
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:55 PM on August 25, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is an Ashley Madison account associated with my email address; it is not mine. As far as I could tell from a very cursory investigation a couple years ago after receiving a welcome-to-AM email, it was created by the same Scott Mylastname—no relation—who had also used my email address for his cable bills and occasional worksite cell phone pictures of worksite foundations. (It turns out there are many, many S. Mylastnames out there who are confused about their email address.)

Anyway, Trustify sent me that email saying somebody looked up my address on their “are you compromised?” form. I certainly didn’t bother to check; I wonder if Scott did, or if Trustify just harvested the email address directly from the leak.
posted by nicepersonality at 6:55 PM on August 25, 2015


Who Hacked Ashley Madison?: Brian Krebs presents circumstantial evidence that @deuszu might be involved.

There's also some hilariously stupid speculation in the IBTimes by John McAfee, should you want uninformed opinions from a retired nutjob who's on the run from a murder investigation.
posted by Nelson at 10:32 AM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


mcafee is such a freaking jackass.
posted by nadawi at 10:33 AM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ars has done a piece about analysis of 6 million of the password hashes in the leak using a setup designed to be very, very fast at cracking passwords. The researcher doing this didn't use a particularly sophisticated setup, but was only able to get 4k passwords out of it and all of them are incredibly weak.
posted by sparkletone at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2015


Thoughtful and thought-provoking piece by Mefi's own Phire over on Medium: Ashley Madison. Hint: It’s not really about infidelity.
posted by zarq at 12:06 PM on August 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


Leaked Emails Suggest Ashley Madison Founder Had Multiple Affairs. (Newsworthy in particular because that founder had talked publically on the record about not having affairs.)
posted by Nelson at 12:22 PM on August 26, 2015


Bcrypt and overwriting of "deleted" fields seem to be the only things they did right.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:50 PM on August 26, 2015


Meanwhile over in Fundie land, Josh has checked into Rehab* for a "long term" stay. This announcement comes just as porn star, Danica Dillon claims he had sex with her for $1500 a pop.

*Looks like it is Reformers Unanimous which is a religious retreat where you pray your problems away and you commit to a six month stay.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:17 PM on August 26, 2015


not only did he pay a sex worker (and shorted her in payment) she also claims he was violent.
posted by nadawi at 1:21 PM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Surprise, surprise: the number of real, active female users, when you crunch the numbers, is super low. Only 1,500 female users ever checked their messages, and only 2,500 used the chat system. About 12,000 used the paid delete feature, and even if you assume every one of them had several successful affairs, you're still pretty far short of the 5.5 million female users the site claimed to have.
posted by almostmanda at 3:11 PM on August 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


I can personally vouch for the fact that at least one of those female users was searching exclusively for other females, almostmanda.
posted by Ashley Sockison at 3:36 PM on August 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


Now I am looking forward to the eventual denouement, when we find out that millions of men were paying hundreds and thousands of dollars to play a really customized version of Zork.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:42 PM on August 26, 2015 [9 favorites]


"It is pitch black. You are likely to be ravished by a TOTALLY HOT FEMALE WE SWEAR grue."
posted by zarq at 4:11 PM on August 26, 2015 [6 favorites]


I know this is a sort of derail but this document is both fascinating and horrifying to read. It is the rule book for Josh's rehab. In brief, he will be getting up at 4:30 AM and working for 9 hours at manual labor. There is to be NO discussion of past misdeeds. Instead there is Bible study, lots and lots of Bible study.

There are different schedules for the men and the women-- apparently women need more sleep. Also if women break the rules they are Redshirted but if men break the rules they have to sleep at the local homeless shelter that night.

One of my favorite rules is no negative remarks about the food. "Prayer and fasting are a profitable substitute."

Lots and lots of rules and a very strict regime. Just a few months ago Josh was hobnobbing with some of the most powerful GOP politicians in America. Now he is going to be busting his butt in Jesus Gulag.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:56 PM on August 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Why would anyone think that type of "rehab" would work?
posted by rdr at 7:04 PM on August 26, 2015


Also I feel like I have to put this in metafilter at least once a year. If you hire a hooker, pay them what you agreed to, especially if you' re a public figure.
posted by rdr at 7:06 PM on August 26, 2015 [2 favorites]


Call me crazy, but if there is one thing that hasn't been absent from Josh Duggar's life, it's fucking studying the Bible. I'm not sure more Bible study is going to make the difference here.
posted by almostmanda at 7:07 PM on August 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


Why would anyone think that type of "rehab" would work?
Everyone knows that the cure for sexual immoraity is work.

posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:15 PM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know this is a sort of derail but this document is both fascinating and horrifying to read. It is the rule book for Josh's rehab.

Just another scam cult outfit, at $7500 a pop. Quelle surprise.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:39 PM on August 26, 2015


Why would anyone think that type of "rehab" would work?

They're not rational. They don't believe that science is a thing. They think that wanting sex is an illness. Everything that is not 'christ-like' is an illness. And they think illness can be cured by god. They think that only god can cure illness.

I'm furious that they think it's OK to take a place in a shelter from an actual homeless person because one of their rich, deluded, god-bothering, no-hoper clients has the temerity to say 'good morning' to the opposite sex (seriously, it's in the rules).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:43 PM on August 26, 2015 [5 favorites]


We do so at a cost far less than other comparable or reputable programs.

I love that they admit that other programs are either comparable or reputable.

The support fee is paid by the student’s sponsor (or the student himself if he or she is self -- supported) . This person or organization will demonstrate through their timely payment of support that their student is a good investment of their resources. If you cannot invest your resources in your student, then we cannot either . Each student’s fuel , transp ortation, utilities, fixture, furniture, and staffing costs are met through this fee . We offer significant benefits for a very small investment . We believe every church member, child, spouse, or sibling is worthy of this investment, no matter how many bridges they have burned. If necessary, this may build new one

This is rich. Everyone is worthy. But we still need you to prove worthiness by giving us money. Cause if you don't give us money, you're not worthy. But everyone is worthy. This actually reminds me of the "Journey to the Heart" Gothard retreat info where it says that if you can't afford the fee you should pray to God for the money, because if you were spiritually ready, God would give you the money.

MEN: You will need at least 3 work shirts, 3 pair of work pants, 3 casual shirts, 3 pair of dress slacks, at least 5 white crew neck t -- shirts, a pair of work shoes, a pair of recreational shoes and a pair of dress shoes.
LADIES: You will need at least 3 church dresses, and/or 3 skirt and shirt outfits. o Bring a pair of work shoes and a nice pair of shoes for church, and proper hosiery.


?? So the women go to church in dresses and work naked in work shoes? I note the other difference in men's and women's schedules is that women have to clean the building. Presumably they do this naked in work shoes, too.

Also, they go on and on about church clothes, and then when it gets to church, it turns out they're given uniforms to wear to church.

It looks like this whole thing is just a scam to get people to pay to work for you. Note that the contract is essentially "I absolve you of all your labour law violations and promise not to file a complaint or sue you for extracting free (well actually, I pay) labour from me."

And finally, why is it the shelter's problem that some guy didn't do his job? I mean are homeless people being left out on the street while people who pay $1250/month for a place to stay take their spot?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:43 PM on August 26, 2015 [4 favorites]


The good news is Anna will be rid of him for six months, assuming he sticks it out. That's long enough to see that she can live without him, if the people around her will allow her to see that. The bad news is Anna is either alone with 4 kids including a newborn or surrounded by people who won't let her see that she can live without Josh.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:41 PM on August 26, 2015


[Let's not make this entirely about Josh Duggar, please. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:42 PM on August 26, 2015 [1 favorite]


Call me crazy, but if there is one thing that hasn't been absent from Josh Duggar's life, it's fucking studying the Bible. I'm not sure more Bible study is going to make the difference here.

Bwahahahahahaha.
It's all about the "look" of "reform."
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:41 PM on August 26, 2015


rdr: "Why would anyone think that type of "rehab" would work?"

"Sublimation" is a time-honored method of taking healthy sexual impulses and transmuting them into creative energy, especially among religious celibates. (Some form of this idea appears in most religious traditions.) One of the key points in western Christian celibacy is that you're not supposed to "just" sublimate the sexual impulse, but to recognize and confront it and then choose to sublimate it. That is, you think to yourself like, "Yeah, I'm a normal person, I want to have sex like everyone else, I realize what I am feeling right now is lust, and I am choosing not to act on it." Which is the sort of thing someone in a monogamous relationship does too.

So two of the most classical ways of doing this are by making sexy, sexy religious art; or by working your ass off at manual labor, which ties into traditional monastic rules which also view physical labor as a radical practice of equality before God (even the abbot has to hoe the peas and clean the pisspots) and a way to free the mind to focus on God through "working meditation" (again a thing that appears in most religious traditions, the idea that a repetitive form of physical labor can help you empty and focus your mind -- and a reason people like jogging, or knitting, or mowing the lawn). (It also goes into ideas of whether you can exhaust or mortify the body enough that you start ignoring it and live a pure life of the mind, but that's not super directly related to this question.)

Especially when working with teenaged boys -- who are just a bundle of undifferentiated energy and impulses, among them the lustingness -- a time-honored method is to physically wear them out. You see this in various places -- there's a whole movement in 18th and 19th century colleges in the US where men are expected to work in the college's farm fields (which supply no more than a notional amount of food for the college) principally because large groups of boys gathered together need to run off A LOT OF ENERGY and turning some of it into work makes them study better and get in less trouble. It's part of why sports are also so important at American colleges. The army puts recruits through basic not just to train them, but to exhaust the troublemaking out of them so they learn better. There are therapeutic farms today for troubled children -- almost all of them boys -- who are able to much better control their behavior, and achieve much better at academics, if they spend the first half of the day milking cows and hoeing vegetables and wearing their bodies out. (There are some parallel traditions for women but they tend to be a lot more home-focused and can be summed up as "idle hands are the devil's plaything.")

So that's where I think these "Christian work camps" come from, but I think the evangelical versions have one major thing critically wrong, which is that "sublimation" of sexual (and other problematic) impulses is an acceptable strategy for healthy sexualities or for adolescents who are still developing and learning to control their impulses. There is absolutely nothing in the tradition that helps with UNHEALTHY sexualities, and indeed, when UNHEALTHY men are put in labor-oriented monastic traditions, the result is horrifying sex scandals. (And if you're sending adolescents on Outward Bound or to a therapeutic farm or whatever, that is combined with therapeutic support, not in place of therapeutic support.)

I'd be willing to believe that some adults would be better served by a form of rehab where they physically exhausted themselves in the morning and then in the afternoon did intensive therapy. But this isn't that. This is "exhaust yourself, then read a few Bible verses, that'll probably solve your serious and deep psychological problems. Especially ones that clearly stem from your parents' abusive form of Christianity. MORE OF THE SAME!" There's nothing here where Duggar is going to learn to confront and understand his impulses, to recognize when he feels them, and to coach himself to choose not to act on them. He's just going to wear out his body, remain temporarily celibate for a few months through total exhaustion, and talk about how he sinned and is a sinny sinface and shouldn't feel the things he feels. Which is all stuff he's been taught his whole life, and any idiot can remain celibate for three months. He'll relapse in the face of temptation, because they're not going to give him any new tools to cope with his problems -- just the same tools he already has, and the same extremely unhealthy attitude towards human sexuality.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2015 [8 favorites]


Ashley Madison was working on an app called What's Your Wife Worth. "an app that allows men to rate each other’s wives ... also appears to attach a dollar amount to the women based on a their rating ... The app was apparently never completed"
posted by Nelson at 11:25 AM on August 27, 2015


Well those definitely sound like the actions of a company that was seriously attempting to attract a female audience.
posted by almostmanda at 12:25 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is really awful, Eyebrows McGee, is that this place advertises itself as a cure for all kinds of addictions, eating disorders, and post-rape depression. Now considering the fact that there are no staff trained in mental health issues and there is a rule that your past problems are not to be talked about, I honestly don't see how anyone comes out of there in a better mental state. Everything ends up getting sublimated.

What I am really curious about is what this place does with all of the free man power generated. They claim 100 inhabitants cured every 6 months. That is 100 people working 9 hours a day or 900 man hours. Times 20 days a month is 18000 man hours. That is a lot of free labor. There are several references to manual labor and using vehicles to get to work, so where are they going and what are they doing? Are local businesses getting lots of cheap labor for tax-deductible donations? I would like to know the legalities of this.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:06 PM on August 27, 2015


Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo has found the smoking emails:
In the data dump of Ashley Madison’s internal emails, I found ample evidence that the company was actively paying people to create fake profiles. Sometimes they outsourced to companies who build fake profiles, like the ones Caitlin Dewey wrote about this week in the Washington Post. But many appear to have been generated by people working for Ashley Madison. The company even had a shorthand for these fake profiles—“angels.” Perhaps this is a tip of the hat to Victoria’s Secret models, also known as angels. ...

Instead of looking at Ashley Madison as a dating site, I think it’s more accurate to call it an anti-community—a hugely popular social site where it’s impossible to be social, because the men can’t talk to each other, most of the women are fake, and the only interaction available is with credit card payments. It is one of the purest representations of dystopia I’ve ever seen. Or, as one of its more famous users have put it, Ashley Madison is like something straight out of Hell.
posted by maudlin at 2:50 PM on August 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


From maudlin's link ^
What I discovered was that, at most, about 12 thousand of these profiles seemed to belong to women who were active on the site. The rest of the 5.5 million women had profiles that appeared to have been abandoned directly after they were created. [...] Borges asks whether it’s OK to reuse photos if they are in different states, and Simpson says no—she notes that many members travel and they might spot the duplicates. (Emphasis mine.)
Where did all the profile pictures come from? Whose photos are attached to all these profiles??
posted by Room 641-A at 1:03 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


... Borges?
Yes, of course Borges, because this is a fiction, a fiction that functions in the world.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:05 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whose photos are attached to all these profiles??

No doubt this will be the next level of the scandal, when AM or their contractor has been found to be scraping from facebook/Intsagram/Twitter to the horror of a few million women.
posted by bonehead at 8:00 AM on August 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Noel Biderman has stepped down.
posted by sparkletone at 8:45 AM on August 28, 2015


That's mighty big of him, stepping down from the ashes of the scam company he was running before it's entire business plan was exposed as fraudulent to the world.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 8:48 AM on August 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


sparkletone: Noel Biderman has stepped down.

As summarized by WIRED:
After Biderman refused to bend to the hackers’ demand to take Ashley Madison and another site offline, they began to leak data stolen from the company’s networks. At first, the data was only about Ashley Madison’s spouse-cheating customers, but last week, private emails from Biderman hit the web. Today, following stories that Biderman engaged in a number of extramarital affairs, as revealed in those emails—ALM announced that Biderman is stepping down as head of the company.
NY Daily News has more dirt, if you want such things.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:47 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]




AM was founded in 2001, and in a way, it shows. Setting aside the fake profiles for the moment, the way interactions are set up seems incredibly outdated compared to other, newer dating sites, particularly when it comes to getting buy-in from women.

From ~maudlin's link:

My female account, despite having no picture and information, was flooded with emails and chat requests from men who seemed pretty real, including one who helpfully sent a dick pic, complete with stained underwear. [...]

Compare this setup to, say, Tinder, an app that many women use to find casual sex. When a woman creates a profile there, it is not trimmed of personal information “pending approval.” Moreover, a woman on Tinder will never be forced to interact with a man she hasn’t already identified as attractive by swiping right on his picture. On Ashley Madison, I got nothing but guys I hadn’t chosen, who didn’t know anything about me other than my nickname (which was PseudoNym666) and my fake location (New York City). It’s no surprise that very few real women use Ashley Madison.

So you have a website founded on morally dubious premises and structured so as to make the experience downright hostile for women users. No wonder AM resorted to fake profiles.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:04 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


"What happens when the Internet shame machine gets names and zip codes"
Jim still can’t understand why anyone would publish names from the leak online.

“Yes, I’ve done something horrible,” he said. “But what I’ve done pales in comparison to what is being done to all of us.”
I completely buy that. I think publishing the leak data and using it for shaming is indefensible.
posted by jjwiseman at 1:50 PM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sure, but that can be true at the same time that cheating (or looking to cheat, or thinking you're cheating even though it's a bot) is also indefensible. It doesn't make the cheating better.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:05 PM on August 28, 2015


I'm not saying anything about cheating. (I will now, though: Cheating is often bad!)

This isn't a story about whistleblowers revealing information about illegal & harmful practices. This is an illegal hack by people with unknown motives, and looking at the data or thinking it's OK to use the data to judge people is not good. Hell, given the statistics about fake profiles, about the worst thing many of the people in the database can be accused of is thinking about an extramarital affair: A morality thoughtcrime. Let's be very careful about feeling that any sort of punishment is justified.
posted by jjwiseman at 4:46 PM on August 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


No doubt this will be the next level of the scandal, when AM or their contractor has been found to be scraping from facebook/Intsagram/Twitter to the horror of a few million women.

I was gonna say this would be easy to test with tineye or google images right now, but then I remembered how ridiculously siloed off from the rest of the Internet Facebook is.

It was almost a perfect crime, or it was until someone blows it wide open. Whoever did it probably knew that.

They might also be from instagram, which is also super isolated from the real general purpose Internet.
posted by emptythought at 5:01 PM on August 28, 2015


Holy cow, that... whatever it was... written by John McAfee. At this point, are we sure he's not some performance artist doing a long con?
posted by qcubed at 7:51 AM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


i've had some (online) interactions with him, and it all sadly seems entirely real. if anything, what he shows in publicly searchable areas is more sane than what he portrays in less public areas.
posted by nadawi at 8:56 AM on August 29, 2015


So honest question in tbe light of like, all the women on AM being fake, do these hookup sites work? Cause back in the day I was on the gay male ones and it took so much time and effort for anyone to even tespond to you, let alone set something up. I always get the impression my other gay friends pretty much had guys on tap whereas I had to spend literally hours and pages of text to like, charm someone into maybee wanting to meet me.

I mean I suspect its cause I was heavier in my 20s and thus an invisible eunuch.
posted by The Whelk at 1:14 PM on August 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Hello Future Pastebin Readers" by Quinn Norton:
When I was 12 I begged for, and got, the Time-Life Enchanted World Series. The first book on ghosts had a line that tickled not only my fantasy-novel-addled brain, but also my budding writerly instinct. We fear ghosts, according to Ghosts, because their gazes say to us: “As I am, so shall you be.” Today, that’s what the Compromised are silently saying to everyone else, with their pained faces, naked selfies, and ruined credit histories. Ask not for whom the next Ashley Madison tolls, it tolls for you. All of you.

No matter how it happens, it’s the same thing that always gets you — the paper trail, the accounting, the database, the logs. Logging, archiving, history, whatever it’s called in this next app, this is what always fucks you in the end. It used to be it fucked you because you were running a mob front company, and someone absconded with the books, which were physical books. Now, it’s because you’re a person-who-is-on-the-internet. This is the magic of living in an age where chit-chat is no longer ephemeral. Our minutia ends up on Pastebin, on the hard drives of journalists, discussed on Reddit, tweeted in screenshots. You don’t have to be important for this to happen to you. You just have to be on the net.
posted by jjwiseman at 9:35 AM on August 31, 2015 [3 favorites]


STATEMENT FROM AVID LIFE MEDIA, MONDAY, AUGUST 31, 2015. A Press Release from Ashley Madison, who apparently has hired Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf as their new PR person.
Recent media reports predicting the imminent demise of Ashley Madison are greatly exaggerated. The company continues its day-to-day operations even as it deals with the theft of its private data by criminal hackers. Despite having our business and customers attacked, we are growing. This past week alone, hundreds of thousands of new users signed up for the Ashley Madison platform – including 87,596 women.
(Bonus points for the lazy "demise .. exaggerated" trope.)
posted by Nelson at 9:43 AM on August 31, 2015


The repugnance of moral scolds by Tim Kreider
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:46 AM on August 31, 2015 [1 favorite]


... including 87,596 women ...

Who absolutely, positively, were not created by an outsourced call center.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:32 AM on August 31, 2015 [2 favorites]


I know that I personally would be comfortable signing up for a website that just leaked all of the user information (including billing information) for all of its users to the entire world, and I'm sure hundreds of thousands of other people who definitely exist also feel the same.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:54 AM on August 31, 2015 [1 favorite]




I know that I personally would be comfortable signing up for a website that just leaked all of the user information (including billing information) for all of its users to the entire world,

You're not alone I guess; 7 times as many women rushed to sign up in the weeks after than the entire total up to now in the site's history. Who knew women loved that risk so much?
posted by ctmf at 6:23 PM on August 31, 2015


... including 87,596 women ...

Who absolutely, positively, were not created by an outsourced call center.


I was thinking more like 80,000 suspicious/worried women who signed up to try to see if their spouse/SO has an account, 7,593 reporters/bloggers working on a story, 3 people who thought it was a baby naming site.
posted by taz at 2:09 AM on September 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Andoatnp's link is another article by the woman who gave the estimate of 12000 women on the site explaining that she had interpreted the fats wrong and that there are in fact many more women there. However she did find evidence that 70,000 of the women were actually bots.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:12 AM on September 1, 2015


Today, following stories that Biderman engaged in a number of extramarital affairs, as revealed in those emails—ALM announced that Biderman is stepping down as head of the company.

How is that not a qualification for the job rather than a detriment? Or is it that he found them on Backpage, like catching the CEO of Coca-Cola drinking a Pepsi?
posted by phearlez at 1:54 PM on September 1, 2015


josh duggar didn't show up for "rehab"
posted by nadawi at 12:03 PM on September 3, 2015


I can't find it now, but I read an article this morning that mentioned that there is a Christian "rehab" facility in that other city the plane flew to. Maybe the first flight with the 10 minute turn around time was a decoy flight.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 12:31 PM on September 3, 2015




How Noel Biderman and Avid Life Media hoodwinked us—and why we didn’t know until now

tl;dr The emails show that AM got two people to pretend to be EstablishedMen users for an interview with Toronto Life.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:50 PM on September 10, 2015


Ashley Madison Media Hoax: How Native Advertising May Have Tricked Us All: "Most of what mainstream media has repeatedly told you about Impact team, security confirmations, victims and more was faked."
posted by jjwiseman at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2015


Jjwiseman: Does that article read legibly to you? I'm trying to read it, but it almost seems as though the paragraphs are arranged in random order. (I'm not insulting the writing, I'm wondering if there's a technical difficulty with the article). I can't figure out what the article is trying to say. I don't suppose someone would provide a one or two sentence summary?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 4:35 PM on September 10, 2015


It's not just you; the article is very rambling. If I understand correctly, it's saying that the press coverage of the Ashley Madison hack was a PR plant or submarine story, and that the various media who broke the story were deliberately manipulated by someone with the help of a known paid-content farm. As far as I can tell, the article doesn't offer any theory for who is doing the media manipulation or why. Avid, to drum up PR and visitors for their various ad-supported sites? A rival site seeking to destroy Ashley Madison? Whoever was behind the hack, to make their own tactics more effective?
posted by mbrubeck at 8:26 PM on September 10, 2015


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