Ever wanted to cheat on your spouse via the internet? That could become much more of a hassle to do now, because popular adultery site Ashley Madison has been hacked, with the hackers threatening to release users’ personal details if owner group Avid Life Media doesn’t shut it down along with partner website Established Men.
Now, it might be easy to imagine why a website which actively encourages affairs might be considered controversial and as a target for hackers, but it’s important to keep in mind that Ashley Madison has nearly million users in total (no count on how many of these are legitimate profiles), and the hacker group The Impact Team seems to have all of their user data now. While the site is for married people to meet others whom they can have an affair with, there’s the contention that Ashley Madison can somehow save marriages bogged down by bad sex or dissatisfaction with the other partner. And it’s not the first time that Ashley Madison has run into controversy – there have been a few attempts where advertising space has been refused to it, such as during the Super Bowl and on streetcars in Toronto.
Ashley Madison has been in existence since 2001, and perhaps ironically it’s founder Noel Biderman seems to be happily married (and in an interview where his wife also participated, there was mutual agreement that either would be disappointed – though not devastated – if one partner found the other to be using the site).
Most of the users are based in Canada, the UK, and US, but there is somewhat of a global following of married people looking for some ‘excitement’ outside of their marriage. One might easily question the ethics of a website designed for people to cheat on their spouses, but there are many reasons why an affair might happen, reasons that could become justifiable in specific circumstances. But then again, if such a site exists, it’s important to ask why better security measures were not taken – after all, cheating is a subject which can bring up rather intense emotional reactions, and thus there is a need to protect users from angry spouses.
The Impact Team anyway feels justified in their actions, stating “too bad for these men – they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no discretion,” though it seems that they are only targeting Ashley Madison and Established Men, while ALM’s other sites won’t be affected.
But the comment about the men on Ashley Madison isn’t entirely all-encompassing: nearly 30% of the site’s users are women, and it appears that there are a number of reasons why women might also use the site. But some of Biderman’s comments don’t exactly seem to endear him to women he has the opinion that “the women’s movement into the workplace was the first massive jump into unfaithfulness,” and that “the more financial independence women have, the more it correlates to how unfaithful they’ll be.” He could be right, but putting it into these terms is very much reminiscent of the plots of a couple Mozart’s operas than anything else.