Thoughts on the Ashley Madison hack

I’m irritated by this whole thing.

On the one hand, it’s interesting that this might be the first time where MEN are being targeted generally for revenge for sexual indiscretions, and that these indiscretions are actually far more indiscrete than taking nude selfies to share with consenting adults.

On the other, this hack is every bit as much of a violation for these men and women, though it seems mostly only the men are going to be targeted. It includes information about their fetishes, and it includes instances of every account that’s ever been created and since “deleted”-but-not-really. The hack of the information from the site’s database is horrid, and the intent from some quarters — political, anti-social-justice, etc — to pore through it to damn specific people over being in that database is really gross. It’s gross in the same sort of voyeuristic way that putting up revenge porn is gross, though maybe not gross to the same degree insofar as it’s damning them for, at best, THINKING of doing something unethical, rather than damning them for doing something totally normal and commonplace as sending nudies to consenting partners.

This amounts to an infidelity dragnet, and it’s bound to catch innocents who’ve only engaged in “thoughtcrime”, having CONSIDERED having an affair. People who had accounts at one time, but no longer. People who had accounts before even being married. Yes, the site is about married people looking to “cheat”, but I’m sure straight and lovelorn people have ended up signing up for accounts on Grindr before, so it’s bound to happen that people sign up for this site just looking to pull a date. Not to mention that poly folks could very well use this relationship-finder with the full knowledge of their partners. Or people who signed up to research the site, even!

Mind you, it is a bright line that I cannot cross, where I would never engage in any activity that anyone directly impacted by it — e.g. partners — would not consent to. I am an advocate of ongoing, active, informed consent, and abrogating that consent is gross and wrong. It is a breach of trust that absolutely could and probably should ruin relationships. An ethical thing to do on encountering this information about someone’s relationship is to tell them privately — not splash it all over the deep web and create searchable indexes so that 4chan can go digging for dirt on all their most hated Social Justice Warriors. Never mind that they’re the ones constantly claiming that feminists just hate sex (despite evidence to the contrary), giving them the narrative that proving they might want sex somehow makes them hypocrites.

And don’t even get me started on the fact that finally, FINALLY, Josh Duggar — who molested several of his sisters — is suddenly viewed as a bad guy because he had an account here. Admitted child molestation is not a less serious crime than planning on cheating on your wife with zero proof of follow-through.

Just an unstructured thought dump.

Ohio’s election results will be suspect, thanks to an untested last-second voting machine patch — UPDATED, TABULATION MACHINES ARE APPARENTLY ISOLATED

UPDATE:
Evidently, there are some fundamental errors made by the original reporter that change the timbre of this story altogether. This report has Joseph Lorenzo Hall of the Centre for Democracy and Technology in DC, asserting very strongly that the tabulation machines are “air-gapped” — the tabulation results from the original voting system are in actuality walked over manually (via a data export to, say, a thumb drive or flash card) to the tabulation machines. Apparently, no code run on those machines can access the primary system because they’re isolated. So what the code has write access to, then, is apparently the export of the database, not the originals in any way.

It still means that processes should be followed to ensure the integrity of the data, to ensure that the exported data matches the CSV conversion. But I suspect these folks are more “with it” than I’d originally thought.

See below the fold for my original story.

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Did Chick-Fil-A bear false witness not once but twice?

“Lying for Jesus” is not a new tactic, but it’s certainly a hypocritical one, if you’ve decided that it is more important to follow the rules set out in the Bible than to trust your basic human empathy to guide you in dealing with other human beings. It’s fascinating to me that someone can square a dogmatic need to force everyone to adhere to one lesser set of guidelines in the Bible involving where you’re allowed to put your penis, while completely failing to follow one major rule set forth as a Commandment: thou shalt not bear false witness. Bearing false witness means, in no uncertain terms, lying — the rule, therefore, means “do not lie”.

And yet, Chick-Fil-A has possibly lied twice in their recent PR campaign to weather a crisis caused by their anti-gay COO Dan Cathy.
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Who’s behind robocalls that misled Canadian lefties from voting? Conservative supporter Pierre Poutine!

You’ve got to be kidding me. It’s almost like self-parody.

Court documents show a cellphone in the robocalls affair was registered to Pierre Poutine of Separatist Street in Joliette, Que.

Elections Canada’s chief investigator says the clearly fake name was likely used to cover the tracks of whoever was behind the misleading and harassing phone calls to voters in Guelph, Ont., during the last federal election campaign.

Voters in Guelph reported getting calls from a phone number with a 450 area code directing them to the wrong polling station. Elections Canada investigator Al Mathews obtained phone records showing the number behind the Guelph calls was the same one registered to “Pierre Poutine.”

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Conservative election dirty tricks in Waterloo; possibly elsewhere

Our good friend Steve Thoms, a.k.a Some Canadian Skeptic, is apparently interviewed in The Record discussing some dirty tricks by Conservatives in our recent national election.

I know, shock and horror, how could the Conservative Party of Canada have to resort to foul play to win an election when they are so obviously the paragons of all that is light and just and true in this world?

After the news broke last week that Elections Canada is investigating complaints from Guelph residents about receiving calls on Election Day in an apparent effort to dissuade Liberal voters from casting a ballot, the story broadened over the weekend. A company that did campaign work for Conservatives, including the prime minister, was linked to harassing or misleading automated phone calls received by voters in some 18 hotly contested ridings just prior to the May 2 election.

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A judge in Atlanta is suffering from an Obama delusion

I just thought that I should point out that, now, almost four years after the first claims were spread suggesting that Obama is a secret Kenyan and non-citizen, and after birth certificates have been shown, and Orly Taitz exposed as a mad woman, and political brainwashing has been excoriated at every level, there are still naifs in this world who believe Obama is a bad-juju voodou priest Manchurian Candidate OF DOOM. And these naifs have far more power than anyone is safe having with that level of delusion.

Via The Star Tribune, via The Ay-Pee:

A judge has ordered President Barack Obama to appear in court in Atlanta for a hearing on a complaint that says Obama isn’t a natural-born citizen and can’t be president.

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Punish the politician who called Jessica Ahlquist an “evil little thing”

JT Eberhard is climbing the Reddit charts today with his post asking American voters to remind a certain politician that telling the truth does not make one “evil”.

Up until recently a Rhode Island high school had a prayer hanging in a government building. When they were asked to take it down the administrators lied about the prayer repeatedly. While it was being hammered out in court, students at the school, as well as a frothing pack of Jesus-lovers harassed a 16 year-old girl the entire time. After a judge affirmed that the lying administrators were breaking the law, those students and the other Jesus-lovers doubled their efforts, many of them threatened the well-being of the 16 year-old girl implicitly or directly.

It should be noted that all the girl did was ask the lying administrators to stop breaking the law and, when they refused, she told the truth under oath (which the administrators did not).

Sadly, asking a politician to appreciate honesty is like asking a thief to appreciate surveillance. Peter G. Palumbo, the Democrat in the RI House from the Cranston district, has no rebukes for the Jesus-loving liars, bullies, or thugs. He has nothing negative to say about the people who felt they were above the Constitution and lied to subvert it. He did, however, have something to say about Jessica. Palumbo said, sarcastically, that she is “An evil little thing.” That may have bee said sarcastically (there is debate over whether or not that line was sarcastic, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt), but the line “I think she’s being coerced by evil people” was most assuredly not. She is not being coerced, and her cause is not evil.

Emphasis mine. Just wanted to point out that lying for Jesus is not a party line type deal.

I’m sure you can help keep this ball rolling. Telling the truth under oath about a prayer up on a wall in school is apparently an incredibly brave thing to do for a sixteen year old girl. By telling the truth, and having a judge agree that this prayer makes that school de facto Christian and is therefore unconstitutional, she has earned the enmity of everyone who would prefer a lie that protects their religion than the rights of this sixteen year old girl. She is being harassed on Twitter, in real life, and now by small-minded and provincial politicians. You voters can do something about that last.

The Case Against Outing Franc Hoggle

There’s a battle raging presently over at Ophelia’s and Stephanie’s over a guy by the ‘nym of Franc Hoggle. I say ‘nym, because a real-life friend of his learned of his online identity, evidently by him outing himself to this friend — leading to his friend discovering his blog, Grey Lining (no link, sorry). Said friend decided to tell Ophelia Franc’s real name so she could use it to defend herself and the rest of us by extension from his ongoing misogynist, anti-feminist, anti-FtB, anti-Ophelia and downright obsessive anti-PZ campaign.

To be clear, Franc Hoggle, despite making a great many oblique and yet threatening comments like “if I were a woman, I’d kick [Ophelia] in the cunt”, has never directly threatened anyone. In his nascent proto-Mabus state, he has compared PZ Myers, popular atheist blogger and small town professor of biology, of being like Idi Amin and Kim Jong-Il, the only admitted difference being that PZ was lacking only the opportunity to commit mass-murder.

The constant drumbeat of anti-feminist sentiment from his site and his commentariat (whom we would probably leave largely alone if they would only stop staging raiding parties!) is evidently intended to inculcate a hostile environment for our bloggers, shaming and othering and invoking fear to speak our minds lest we incur the wrath of some people who happen to think that including feminism in the skeptic and atheist blogosphere is the Wrong Direction For The Movement™. But he has made no direct threats to anyone, and short of the fact that he has visited the Melbourne-based Global Atheist Convention in 2010 under his real name, and PZ was planning on being at the 2012 GAC, he poses no physical threat to anyone in real life.

Yet.
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