That Ashley Madison thing…

ashleyflowersOh, that Ashley Madison thing is really something that got the Internet going. And this here, that is one of the very few  actually funny reactions. The rest is either

  • explaining how those cheaters got what they’ve had coming, or
  • gleefully looking up folks and saying „gee, look what they did!“

Neither of which is particularly mature or helpful. Actually, downright unhelpful and deathly dangerous, as the case of the Saudi shows. And then there was this interestingly altered quote:

They came for Ashley Madison, and I said nothing, because I didn’t have an account. Then they came for Fetlife, and I said nothing, because I used a fake name and no pictures of myself. Then they came for OKCupid, and I said nothing, because dudebros are jerks and they deserve what they get. And then they came for my inbox…

Which gets closer, but still misses the point. The point being: When we use any service, be it on the internet or elsewhere, that service will most probably need to gather and make use of potentially private information. Otherwise it probably simply won’t work. (Have fun building a social network without any personal data in there.) And where there’s data, there will be people who want to take a look at that data. For the lulz, national security, blackmailing, finding their enemies, the reasons for this are varied.

The thing is this: We should be mad about the Ashley Madison hack. Really mad. Not because this is about people cheating on their spouses, or because there might have been blackmail involved, or.. whatever.

We should be mad that this company that got entrusted with personal data didn’t put this data into a secure place. That is what you should take away from this:

  • If you handle other peoples data — make damn sure that only legitimate people can get at that data. Do everything in your power to ensure that even if you do get hacked, people won’t be able to make use of what they find.
  • If you want other people to handle your data — make them accountable for what happens with that data. If they won’t agree to that, won’t let you in on their precautions, be aware that you could just as well make that data public right now! Because they will get hacked at some point.

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