Samir’s Selection 08/19/2015 (p.m.)

  • tags: AshleyMadison privacy dataprotection hacking crime culture

    • The Ashley Madison leak is about a lot more than the public shaming of philanderers.

      Above all, it’s about Internet privacy.

    • Journalists and security experts quickly noted that there were 15,000 .mil or .gov e-mail addresses among those used for the site.

      Under military rules, philanderers can be punished by a year in confinement and a dishonorable discharge, which means losing their pension, Slate reported.

      “I wonder how many military retirements will be dropped tomorrow,” one person wrote on Twitter. “It certainly be an interesting few weeks.”

    • One Ashley Madison customer apparently used former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s work e-mail to set up their seeking-sex account. (Ashley Madison does not verify the e-mail addresses, meaning anyone could have used Blair’s e-mail, Wired pointed out.)
    • “What the howling wolves doesn’t seem to understand is what they are doing is online bullying. The kind of bullying that clearly can cause such personal tragedies,”
    • although the leak itself appears to be a moral vendetta, it could lead to individual cases of blackmail as people comb through the information and spot co-workers, neighbors or acquaintances.

      By the time you read this, there is a good chance someone on 4chan will have figured out a way to make the leaked info searchable.

    • In 2012, writer Jon Methven imagined just this type of tectonic Internet shift in his short story, “Life After A Total Hack.” Methven’s fictional tale began with a woman agonizing over the chance her husband could learn about her online sexual fantasies, but quickly broadened. Widespread hacking would render much of the Internet itself useless, Methven’s story suggested.

      “Molly missed her online communities: Facebook, SoundCloud, MyLife, Goodreads (though she hated to read), Twitter, Google+, Meetup, Foursquare, Pinterest, CafeMom (even though she did not like children), StumbleUpon, Flickr and LinkedIn, all of which she used to visit daily,” he wrote. “When the hack occurred, she was nervous about visiting any of the sites lest more of her personal life get leaked online.”

    • Perhaps the best and broadest take on #AshleyMadison-gate came from The Awl’s John Herrman.

      “I’m not sure anyone is really reckoning with how big this could be, yet,” he wrote. “If the data becomes as public and available as seems likely right now, we’re talking about tens of millions of people who will be publicly confronted with choices they thought they made in private. The result won’t just be getting caught, it will be getting caught in an incredibly visible way that could conceivably follow victims around the internet for years.”

    • Herrman wondered how media organizations would treat the leak, for example. Is it news for a politician to have an affair? What about a police chief? And what about your kid’s kindergarten teacher?
    • “I may be overestimating how far things will unfold, but this feels like a momentous event,” he wrote … It’s easy to kid about the fact that these people were using a site intended to help them cheat. But if understood in more abstract terms, this hack has the potential to alter anyone’s relationship with the devices and apps and services they use every day,” Herrman argued.

      “Here were tens of millions of people expecting the highest level of privacy that the commercial web could offer as they conducted business they likely wanted to keep between two people. This hack could be ruinous — personally, professionally, financially — for them and their families. But for everyone else, it could haunt every email, private message, text and transaction across an internet where privacy has been taken for granted.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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