Ashley Madison is essentially eHarmony for adulterers. Their tagline is literally “Life is short. Have an affair,” as if an affair is that calorie-laden scone you stare at in line every morning at Starbucks and not a damaging, life-altering decision (which scones totally are, btw. It’s a 500-calorie crumbly biscuit masquerading as a muffin. Don’t do it).
Yesterday, a group of hackers going by the name The Impact Team posted a manifesto online demanding that parent company Avid Life Media discontinue Ashley Madison, as well as its sister sites Cougar Life and Established Men, or they would begin to leak secure information about its users. Yikes.
Ashley Madison released a statement that their 37-million user strong database had, in fact, been broken into. Cue 37-million frantic calls to a previously unused call center as adulterous husbands and wives across the world figured out whether or not their shit would be on the lawn when they came home.
Despite claims from The Impact Team that 2,500 accounts had been accessed, Ashley Madison has reassured the public that only two users information had been stolen. The two men with the shittiest luck in the world have yet to comment, probably because they are in the midst of living out a real life “Bitch Better Have My Money,” scenario in their homes.
Somehow, ALM has managed to keep the leaked information under wraps, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which was established to help prevent copyright infringement. How that protects the personal information of shady cheaters, I don’t know, but it seems to be working for the time being.
As a human with a (moderately) functional moral compass, I find cheating to be abhorrent. Rather than destroy your partner and saddle them with a lifetime of trust issues, maybe you could just grow a pair and end your relationship. This is a pretty popular opinion, and I’m sure most people would agree.
Now here is where I will undoubtedly anger some of you: I also believe that some cheating is far worse than others. Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where straying from your relationship feels like a justifiable move. You’re wrong, but in the moment the line seems a bit blurry.
Maybe you’re drunk and making terrible decisions. Maybe you’re upset and feel like lashing out. All shitty reasons, yes, but reasons nonetheless. Your questionable rationalization isn’t justifiable, but it can be understandable. Just ask any under-appreciated girlfriend in any TV drama ever. Users of Ashley Madison, however, don’t get to claim this.
Instead of naturally finding themselves in a situation where they have developed feelings for another person due to any number of extenuating circumstances, the people who sign up for Ashley Madison are actively seeking out cheating. Like, they had to be sitting around thinking, “Man, I really want to ruin the life of my significant other, but the opportunity just hasn’t presented itself. If only there was another way.”
It’s premeditated, which (thanks to Law & Order) we all know is worse than manslaughter. You had to make a purposeful decision to sit down, register for a website built upon the premise of cheating, fill out a personal profile, list your kinks on a platform as infamously non-secure as the Internet, and then initiate conversation with other shitty people like yourself. You didn’t accidentally stumble onto the registration page and sneeze your information into that database.
What I’m getting at is, I don’t feel sorry for these people even a little bit. Beyond their clear lack of any sort of conscience, they are also abundantly stupid if they honestly believed this would never come back to bite them in the ass. So yeah, maybe the moral of this story is don’t sign up for a website that exclusively caters to shady assholes looking to cheat on their significant others, and incriminating information won’t be leaked about you.