After reading the news that the online dating site “Ashley Madison” was hacked, my initial thoughts focused on security. Doesn’t it feel like we are living through an epidemic of profound hacking? Internationally, banks, governments, businesses, and now dating sites have been compromised. Is nothing safe? Is nothing sacred? I heard myself breathe that deep “Here-we-go-again!” sigh. But it quickly dawned on me; this is less an issue of online security and one of online stupidity.
Ashley Madison is a site for cheaters. Hackers hold the detailed information including names, sexual fantasies and who-linked-up-with-whom for some 37 million individuals, er, idiots world-wide. “Idiots” is a strong word. The question for me is this: Why would 37 million cheaters or cheater-wannabes search online for a partner to have an affair? Is it because we all know and trust that the internet is such a safe place?
Let’s put the numbers in perspective. In the U.S., over 36 million folks watched the Oscars this year. On Memorial Day, 37 million drivers hit the road. It’s the number of roughly the population of all of California, the most populous state in the nation. Staggeringly, 37 million people internationally would trust their most private information, secrets and desires to a Web site, knowing that they can’t even bank, work, or shop at Target without their data being stolen. Go figure!
We really do have big problems.
July 20, 2015