Fairly 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 like sexmature xxx 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. Or at least, normally it is. Admittedly, watching Lara Lee on cam
sounds like it could have a lot of appeal, but I haven’t watched them. 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
- The New Way Police Can Cheaply Track Cell Phones – Possibly Even Without A Warrant, by Lauren C. Williams, Think Progress
- Florida treasure hunters find $4.5m in rare Spanish coins, Reuters
- Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web, by Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times
- Is this the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Siphonophore filmed on seabed off the coast of Angola, Kiran Moodley, The Independent
- Australian academics seek to challenge ‘web of avarice’ in scientific publishing, Melissa Davey, The Guardian
- How to spot a fake: Art forgery’s secrets revealed, by Noah Charney, Salon
- ‘Winged Monster’ Rock Art Finally Deciphered, by Laura Geggel, Live Science
- Why the ‘Prime Meridian of the World’ Shifted Hundreds of Feet, by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science
- Ghostly Particles Detected Beneath Earth, by Charles Q. Choi, Live Science
- Going up? Space elevator could zoom astronauts into Earth’s stratosphere, by Mahita Gajanan, The Guardian
- First almost fully-formed human brain grown in lab, researchers claim, by Helen Thomson, The Guardian
- Nasa: Asteroid capable of wiping out US won’t hit us on 15 September, probably, BBC
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
- Oil Companies Sit on Hands at Auction for Leases, By CLIFFORD KRAUSS, The New York Times
- Donald Trump has transformed GOP politics – no matter what happens, by Ben Jacobs, The Guardian
- Nine banks including RBS settle $2bn forex rigging claim in US court, by Jill Treanor, The Guardian
- As Turkish lira crumbles, Nov. 1 election date is floated, By Orhan Coskun and Ercan Gurses, Reuters
- Turkish PM’s coalition talks collapse as deadline approaches, by Constanze Letsch, The Guardian
- Brutish, nasty – and not even short: the ominous future of the eurozone, by Wolfgang Streeck, The Guardian
- One Week After the Tianjin Blasts: What We Know, By Didi Kirsten Tatlow, The New York Times
- Katrina killings: judge orders new trial over police shootings after hurricane, Associated Press
- It hurts to say it, but sometimes Donald Trump speaks the truth, by Trevor Timm, The Guardian
- Roller derby doesn’t enforce gender separation and women still rule the sport, by Alex Hanna, The Guardian
- America’s biggest coffee snobs are not in Seattle, but wide-eyed and alert in Alaska, by Julia O’Malley, The Guardian
- Activist Shaun King Denies Claims He Lied About Race and Assault, By ASHLEY SOUTHALL, The New York Times
- Rise & fall of the anti-Trumps: Why these GOP pretenders don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell, by Paul Rosenberg, Salon
- Bottom of GOP heap seething at RNC over debates, By Kyle Cheney and Katie Glueck, Politico
- Greenspan Imagines Better, Alternate Universe in Which Greenspan Was Not Fed Chair, by David Dayen, The Intercept
- The CIA’s grotesque secret: How it’s partnering with human rights abusers – and sparking blowback, by Sarah Margon, Salon
- Seventy Years of Military Mediocrity, By William J. Astore, Naked Capitalism
- The Teach For America Bait and Switch: From ‘You’ll Be Making a Difference’ to ‘You’re Making Excuses’, By Jessica Millen, Naked Capitalism
- The rise of the “self-proclaimed socialist”: Why reporters shouldn’t be so surprised that Bernie Sanders’ appeal is growing, by Peter Dreier, Salon
- Rachel Maddow blasts Obama over Arctic drilling: “The most ill-timed and awkward thing he’s done in a long time”, by Sophia Tesfaye, Salon
- Red Cross CEO Tried to Kill Government Investigation, By Justin Elliott, ProPublica
- Mankiw’s Principles of Economics Part 9: Prices Rise When the Government Prints Too Much Money, By Ed Walker, emptywheel