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Affair site taken down by moralist hackers

by on21 July 2015

How moral is that?

The hacking of a website which was supposed to encourage people to have an affair has created a bit of a moral issue for the press.

Extramarital affair website Ashley Madison was raided for millions of their customer's details and the moralistic hackers said it if did not close down it would publish all the details.

Dubbed Impact Team the hackers claim to have a moral agenda, which is better than what normally motivates cybercriminals.

But what the hackers are sitting on is a list of 37million possible adulterers' identifying details

Impact Team's statement rails against the motivations not just of the supposed cheaters using the site, but the site itself for facilitating this behaviour, demanding that ALM close down Ashley Madison and another of its sites, Established Men, permanently or risk the details being published.

However there is a slight problem with the concept. Hacking to expose a company, or an evil government is fair game. But making someone's moral choices and attempting to enforce them is practically medieval.

Sure some of the names on that data base are going to be sleaze balls looking for a shag, of both sexes. But there are going to be other much sadder stories there which should not be named and shamed. Who appointed Hacker Team to decide that a person visiting a site like that deserves to be blackmailed?

We do not actually know who Impact Team is they could be working from a moral agenda which is completely foreign to most of the people who might be leaning towards taking down Ashley Madison. They might be the Westboro Baptist Church claiming that they are protecting the "sanctity of marriage" or some other justification. Ultimately they are enforcing something that in the Western World we don't. That is not much different from the Taliban who forced their particular moral agenda to make sure that music was banned.

The next stage will be that Impact Team, full of righteous anger, will go to find others who breached its undisclosed ethical code such as porn sites, gay sites, people who don't think the US is god's country.

There is always a feeling of disquiet when people chose to make other's moral choices and if there isn't, there should be.

The ethical hacker is supposed to be protecting people who cannot protect themselves from businesses and governments, from criminals and paedophile rings. Blackmailing people with stuffed up marriages should not be part of that.

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