Why the Ashely Madison hackers failed

by Joe Fontenot in Current Events

hacker inside intel logoThere seemed to be something Edward Snowden-y about the Impact Team--the hackers who exposed Ashley Madison's customer list.  Taking down big corruption.  Not stealing a dime.  All for the purpose of exposing hypocrisy.

But that's too bad.

I wish they would have taken their dimes.  All of them.  Maybe then they would have done something good.

"We didn't blackmail users. Avid Life Media did."

That has become the go-to quote from the hackers.

But that's really a non-sequitur to the issue; just like their larger justification for hacking is completely inconsistent with their own stated values.  Here's what I mean.

First, they did blackmail Avid Life Media (AVM).  Saying they didn't blackmail the users is obvious (and a non-sequitur).  The users didn't have a say in the matter--they'd already signed up and couldn't undo what they did.  The actual demand was for AVM to shut-down.

The second problem is their motivation to hack.  They chose "any companies that make 100s of millions profiting off pain of others, secrets, and lies" (grammar preserved from the original quote).

Secrets, lies, and hypocrisy.

If secrets and lies are bad, then the solutions must be positive and not more destructive than the problem.  Otherwise they're not solving anything.

This provides a fantastic justification for the Gospel.  We cannot force morality; the best we can do is persuade them to come to God and gain a new heart.  The Gospel is an inside-out instead of outside-in concept.  While the hackers were making the truth known, they were doing it in a destructive way.

But the first of their criterion is worse: vindication against those who "[profit] off [the] pain of others."  Hypocrisy.

In the Q&A I cite below, the hackers said they'd been on AVM (Ashely Madison) servers for years.

Why didn't they just sink the company?  Did they really think all the wrecked marriages and embarrassment to the users would somehow force everyone to be good?  Or, even more ridiculous, did they think this would somehow 'fix' the reason such sites exist?

Some might argue that bringing morality into this is unnecessary.  But the whole entire endeavor was motivated by morality.  Their motivation was to expose the hypocrisy of cheating spouses.  Hypocrisy is only bad if there is such a thing as right and wrong (morality).

So, logically, we're left with two conclusions:

Their actions didn't bring good and were therefore not the good moral answer they were striving for.  Or, their own lives must be perfect lest they be accused of hypocrisy themselves.  Once you go down the road of policing morality, you find yourself in the awkward position of claiming deity.  Otherwise, who are you to say what's right and wrong, and how much this sin weighs versus that sin?

Congealing all of that--here's my number one question for the hackers: why didn't you just shut down the company from the inside out?  Delete everything.  Wreak havoc on their servers.  Take all their money and send an endless FedEx-stream of glitter bombs to all the executives, then hire news crews to film it all.  Or better yet, take all their money and make anonymous donations to charities around the world.

Yet, they chose to tear down lives.  All because they were taking the 'moral high ground.'

What these hackers have taught us is not to avoid infidelity.  Nor have they taught us that we can't get away with our sins.  Anyone who's been alive only for a few years could have told us this.

What the hackers have taught us is that morality without God is, as Ravi Zacharias often says, bankrupt.

NOTES

Quotes taken from a Q & A with the hackers at vice.com.  You can read it in full here.

A non-sequitur is logic for something has nothing to do with the issue at hand.


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