The alleged hackers of extramarital affair dating site Ashley Madison have dumped 9.7 GB worth of hacked documents on the dark web, threatening to out millions of cheating spouses everywhere.
The information is still difficult to obtain but will likely be disseminated widely via clever users of social sites like Reddit, 4Chan, and Twitter. Although the leakers claimed to have obtained credit card information, Ashley Madison adamantly denies that they’ve ever stored any such info about their users.
But as The Awl reports, there will be names — and that’s the scary part for millions with reputations on the line:
Anonymous internet posters have already discovered the email address of at least one public figure. In subsequent posts, they identify this person’s partner. This person has been confronted on Twitter; I would not be surprised if the partner is currently getting alarming emails from strangers. This happened almost instantly after the leak.
The leaks are only available on .onion URLs, which can only be visited using an anonymity-protecting dark web browser like Tor.
Ethical questions will also arise for media outlets — as surely there will be government officials, public figures, CEOs, entertainers, and pro athletes included among the leaks. Do outlets play party to the leaked information, since it is now officially news? Or do they respect the privacy of the individuals, even though the information is now freely available and will ultimately be reported everywhere.
Welcome my cheating, and chaste friends to the new internet.
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