Month: July 2015

Ashley Madison’s Been Hacked. Is Nothing Sacred?

7/27/15

I recently learned that Ashley Madison, the high-profile internet site catering to married people interested in having discrete affairs was hacked. For those not in the know, this site claims a hefty thirty-seven million members and sports the slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.” It also claims to safeguard their secrets.

And now it seems the group of hackers who go by name the Impact Team are demanding a total shutdown of Ashley Madison and its legion of adulterers, or else… Supposedly included in exposed information are email addresses, usernames, passwords, birth-dates  and zip codes — not to mention sexual preferences and proclivities. Oh my… all those secrets. Imagine the inner turmoil, the gut-wrenching fear of those with so much to lose if their identities were outed — and wouldn’t there be one huge messy puddle all around the world, should those secrets be spilled?

This hack follows a similar event earlier this year when sexual tastes and preferences of over three million people were at risk after the dating site, Adult Friend Finder, was also hacked, and information leaked. And here you and I thought we had problems when our email address books are hacked and we get mail with weird links to click that we hustle off to spam.

Curious, I spent the morning reading a variety of views about the hacking. According to a piece by Joe Kovacs, published  7/22/15, on WND DIVERSIONS — an obviously open-minded site featuring a right-to-life message and a quote by Billy Graham — one unlucky Massachusetts man defied the thirty-seven million to one odds, and his name, profile ID, home address, email address, and list of preferred sexual fantasies were publicly identified in the hacker’s terrorist style manifesto, as a chilling example of their willingness to made good their threats Another person from Canada was named as well. One Catherine Cooper, who self-identified as a mom of two, expressed in her impassioned Daily Mail piece, on 7/21/15, that infidelity is inexcusable and Ashley Madison members, one and all, deserved to be exposed for the cheaters they are. Dawn Michel states in her 7/27/15 examiner.com piece that Ashley Madison is a site created to support bad behavior  and instant gratification, and deserves what they get.  Not to be outdone, Christian evangelist, Franklyn Graham posted a message from the bible stating, “be sure your sin will find you out.”

John McAfee, influential commentator on cyber-security issues, in a 7/23/15 piece in the International Business Times, proclaims the AM hack as the death knoll of secrets — focusing less on its sinfulness than on the weakness of its security system, he found the hacker’s date fascinating, revealing cheater by profession and sex. According to him, topping the male adultery list are doctors, police officers, lawyers, and real-estate agents, and topping the female list are teachers, soccer moms, nurses, and real-estate agents — and claims it should be no surprise that in the US, Washing DC tops the cheater list by percentage of population by a wide margin.

At this point I should reveal my own opinions  about Ashley Madison, based on my taking advantage of their free female membership almost two years ago — with my husband’s full knowledge and agreement.  My profile requests a dominant, kink-friendly, non-bisexual, friend-with-benefits, fifty-five and over with a pass from his wife. I was contacted by a surprising number of men in open relationship, as well as many claiming single status and seeking no-strings fun with a married woman and her spouse. I also received  responses from twenty and thirty-somethings, many with cock shots included, even though my profile states that graphic photos will be instantly deleted — and men whose erotic interests were so different from mine, I wondered if they’d read my profile at all.

Over time, my AM  experience yielded considerable back and forth email communication and photo exchanges with viable possibilities. This resulted in a handful of in-person meetings, and fewer still, encounters in-the-flesh.  Willingness is one thing — but chemistry, as anyone in the dating world probably knows is damned hard to find. We did finally meet a hot man in a polygamous relationship, and in my age range who lived twenty minutes away. We met, we clicked, we shared dinner and fantasy a few times a month for over a year, until his move to another state. Six months later, this man appears to be the apex of what AM has to offer.  I plan to retire my membership on its two-year anniversary late next month.

All in all I’d say there are a plethora of lonely people in this world, many of them married and not all of them hound-dogs, seeking no-strings affairs with willing partners for a variety of reasons, not all of them reprehensible.  As Ashley Madison chief executive, Noel Biderman, stated, “Like us or not this is still a criminal act.”

And in my view, he’s right on. @DorothyFreed1.

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Gay Pride and Human Tolerance

7/4/15

Happy Independence Day to everyone! And all the more so in light of the recent, historic Supreme Court ruling, this past June 26th, 2015, declaring marriage equality to be the law of the land.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the deciding vote in the 5-4 ruling, declaring that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right of all Americans. His ruling is based on four ideas, the basic gist of which is as follows: freedom includes being free to marry whom one chooses; marriage is vital for relationships; marriage protects families; and marriage is a cornerstone of American society. In response to this landmark decision of equality without exception, the White House lit up in rainbow colors in commemoration of this occasion, as did the Empire State Building — and the mood among gay rights supporters was nothing short of jubilant. Gay Pride, right on!

Well, how about that? After all the vehement, unreasonable, fear-driven, and just plain mean-spirited resistance of the religious right to deny same-sex couples their constitutional rights — love is now equal in the eyes of the law! (Take that dissenting Justices, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas. Like it or not the Twenty-First Century has arrived and is well underway. )

Public opinion has shifted in the past few years, revealing the intrinsic wrong of the ban on gay marriage and paving the way for such a decision to be made. I always felt in my gut that it would be just a matter of time, combined with unflagging activism, until that changed. No doubt the disgruntled conservatives — the same good churchgoing souls laboring to reverse Roe vs Wade and deny 51% of the population the right to choose to be pregnant or not —  are currently huddled together, plotting and planning the overthrow of Constitutional rights.

Speaking of gay marriage, a few years ago I wrote a five-hundred word memoir piece about being a sixteen-year-old art student, with a raging crush on Hal, a handsome, sophisticated, forty-year-old art professor — to whom I offered my virginity — and who turned out to be gay. He didn’t give that as his reason for turning me down. He said I was beautiful and desirable, but I was sixteen and it would have been wrong for him to take advantage of me. I went home crying that day, stung by rejection. But I later learned through a mutual acquaintance, that the man whom I’d lusted for was already taken by a model named Ralph. Funny, learning the true reason for my turn-down put the experience in perspective. So he likes men, I thought, shrugging, who knew? I didn’t blame Hal for not coming out to me either — it was only the 1960s, after all; Utopia was a long way away.

If by some slim chance Hal and Ralph are still alive and together all these years later, I imagine their rejoicing at finally being declared equal American citizens but the law of their land.

As Victor Hugo so wisely said, “No army can withstand the power of an idea whose time has come.” But it sure was a long time coming.

Happy Independence Day. We’ve all just taken a giant step toward creating the kinder, gentler, more humane society that we all claim to long for. @DorothyFreed1.