The Breakfast Club (Ashley Madison)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgFairly recently I’ve spoken about the need to keep your private information, private.  Ideally you never, ever use your own name and only anonymous email addresses.  This limits your exposure to things you can not control, like your credit card and shipping info.

I have a separate family of emails I devote just to that.  I suppose if I was serious I’d get into BitCoin or at least a blind Paypal account.  If you have a couple of bucks to incorporate you can go wild with the added protections corporate personhood affords, but my prescriptions are only the mild sort designed to keep the casual spy off your back.

One idiot move I’ve never done is sign up for a porn or swinging site under my own name and certainly not one that required my personal information (Disclaimer: not that I’ve never visited a porn or warez site to evaluate anti-virus performance, of course I have, where do you think you picked them up?  Mary-Bo Peep’s Knitting and Yarn Supplies?  It’s just as likely actually, and the reputable porn sites are pretty good at policing and most warez sites not so much.).

So you might think that I’d laugh off the Ashley Madison hack and I do except on the ethics question-

Do you have things about your life you’d like to keep private?

I’m not much into porn because sex is icky and there are only a finite number of ways to do it so it’s also boring.  Neither am I inclined to enter a romantic relationship at this point in my life (mid-30s, 1926, do the math) and it’s been my experience that nothing is zipless.

Still, there are things that I don’t think are relevant to you as a reader and I don’t care to share with my family and friends because their opinion of me is important and enduring.  This is why there are therapists with whom you can have a professional relationship and those communications are privileged.

There are two things that bother me about the Ashley Madison hack.  The first is that it seems to be based mostly on its purient interest rather than any possible public good.  It’s kinda sorta relevant if some “homosexuality can be cured through conditioning and punishment” spouting icon gets burned lurking Craig’s List (Why you so stupid?) but not so much if some random teenager is driven to suicide by the exposure of their sexuality.

The second is not what you would expect.  It’s that businesses, people you actually pay money to in expectation of delivery of a particular good or service, are so disrespectful of your privacy that they leave the most intimate details of your transactions exposed to thieves who can steal from you or simply sell it to other businesses (corporate personhood, gotta love it) to use to target your particular used shoe fetish and Mary-Bo Peep’s Knitting and Yarn Supplies is no less likely than anyone else to do this.

I will note that I’m not much for the needle arts though I can sew well enough to make horrible looking sacks that might keep your personal micro-climate warm enough to keep from getting chilled while at the same time giving you more mobility than if you were wrapped in blankets.

The Ashley Madison Data Dump, Explained

By DANIEL VICTOR, The New York Times

AUG. 19, 2015

On Tuesday, hackers appeared to make good on a threat to release what they said was 9.7 gigabytes of account and credit card information from 37 million users of the site.

Frankly that seems rather high even for 37 million users.  Surely it is not all text.

The data includes members’ names, user names, addresses, phone numbers and birth dates as well as details of credit card transactions.

Brian Krebs, a security researcher, said in a blog post that he spoke with three people who found their information and the last four digits of their credit card numbers in the database, suggesting they were indeed stolen from the company.

“I’m sure there are millions of AshleyMadison users who wish it weren’t so, but there is every indication this dump is the real deal,” Mr. Krebs wrote.


The hackers said they were upset about Ashley Madison’s policy for deleting user data when requested. The company has long offered members the ability to scrub their profiles and information from the site for $19, a feature that BuzzFeed News said generated nearly $2 million in 2014. But, as the breach showed, the data remained.

“We have explained the fraud, deceit, and stupidity of A.L.M. and their members,” Impact Team wrote, referring to Avid Life Media. “Now everyone gets to see their data.”

So basically, useless extended warranty plans.

Science Oriented Video

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News and Blogs

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.


Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

I would never make fun of LaEscapee or blame PhilJD.  And I am highly organized.

This Day in History



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    • on 08/20/2015 at 20:21

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