Last month, a hacker collective known as The Impact Team stole 37 million users’ data from the infidelity “dating” site Ashley Madison. Today, that data was unleashed to the masses. Many consider this to be just deserts or even divine justice. But hang on a minute. Doesn’t everybody deserve the same rights to privacy?
If you’ve been using Ashley Madison to organise clandestine hookups behind your partner’s back, you are scum; plain and simple. In addition to violating their trust you could be infecting them with STIs. Doubtlessly many of these cheaters would trot out the “spousal neglect” argument; but if that’s the case, you should just pack up and leave. Cheating is never okay.
With all that said, the hackers behind Ashley Madison’s massive data breach have clearly broken the law and violated its users’ right to privacy. You might not agree with these people’s lifestyle choices. You might even hate them. But does that make a mass “doxxing” (that is, the intentional broadcasting of personally identifiable information) okay?
At first I was firmly in the pitchfork-waving “let them burn” crowd, but this reader comment from a Gizmodo news post has given me second thoughts:
A DOX is a DOX regardless of the target and is universally uncool. I for one am glad to see Ashley Madison perish but this is entirely uncool and the way the tech community is relishing in it is entirely at odds with their “pro-privacy” and “Doxxing is wrong” stance elsewhere.
The man has a point. We’re interested in what you guys think. Should everyone be afforded the same rights to privacy, regardless of their (non-illegal) crimes? Or do these protections only apply to reasonable members of society? Cast your vote in the poll below!