It is amazing what people will do online.
This month brought news of yet another commercial Internet site being hacked.
The target was an infidelity website. You read that right, an infidelity website. It's called Ashley Madison. It's a dating site aimed specifically at married people who want to have extramarital affairs. Perhaps the Supreme Court decision ruling it is constitutionally legal for same sex couples to marry might just strengthen the institution after all given how Ashley Madison claims 37 million married people have profiles on their site. Same-sex couples eager to marry would seem to be a bit more into the concept of marriage than opposite sex couples spending their time trolling for extra martial affairs on dedicated Internet sites.
Of course there may be only two or three people stupid enough among the 37 million to actually post their real name let alone their real photo.
That, however, is irrelevant. As the anonymous hacker pointed out in a manifesto and samples of data they stole from the servers of the company that profits from encouraging people to cheat on spouses and sent to computer security blogger Brian Krebs, Ashley Madison allegedly retains all information a user posts. That is even after patrons pay a $19 fee as a departing customer to have usage, photos, messages sent and received as well as profiles deleted.
Regardless, the hacker points out Ashley Madison retains the real smoking guns - personnel credit card billing information of users.
So instead of your significant other hiring a private detective to try and get the goods on you, you can use your 12-year-old son to hack infidelity websites. Think of the convenience. No need any more to make heads or tails of credit card charges; to shift through voicemails, texts or email; or to fret over mysterious numbers left on pieces of paper found in coat pockets. Just have the kid hack into infidelity websites and track down the credit card data.
Yeah, I know. People are going to do what they are going to do, Internet or not.
But the Internet since it is everywhere - on your computer, your smartphone and now on your watch- makes it easier than ever to act on impulses. No second thoughts. No fears to forge. Just a couple strokes on a keyboard or a few taps of the fingers and you can become a cheater. And - unlike the tedious, old-fashioned way - your infidelity can't be covered up thanks to documentation you very nicely provide with your plastic.
Isn't the Internet Age great? Instant access, Instant gratification. And - for those on the wronged end - instant proof once you just knock down a security wall or two. No more need to shadow your spouse. Instead all you have to do is get a hacker to click a mouse. And given how easy it seems these days to hack into secure sites including federal servers.
It gets better. Thanks to an emerging trend in Internet sites, you and your wronged spouse won't even have to hire an attorney. Virtual entrepreneurs are working feverish to set up a legal dispute site where you just upload information, answer questions and judgment is rendered.
Given how many take the Internet and what they find there as the absolute gospel, log drawn-out divorces may be a thing of the past. Of course, everything that anyone would be posted o the site would be 100 percent truthful and accurate just like on all the dating sites - infidelity ones included - as well as on chat room profiles.
The Internet and its promise of relative anonymity has made more people into liars, prompted more people to steal, encouraged more people to be unfaithful, makes it easier for perverts to prey on kids without having to waste gas driving around in a van, loosens restraints when criticizing others, makes bullying easy to do without the distastefulness of doing it in person, and can allow people to minimize real human contact as well as allow you not to act as if you have a conscience.
What more could a civilized world ask for?
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.