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Like millions of others this week, I’ve been reading the big hack stories about hookup site Ashley Madison, which targets men and women “who are married but need something more fun in their lives.” To put it bluntly, as the site’s motto does: “Life is short.
Have an affair.”The bottom line, in case you’ve missed it, is that the site (as well as others owned by Avid Life Media, including Established Men) has been hacked, exposing all kinds of data from its users, including names, credit card information, sexual preferences, and photos.
In the FAQ it specifically reminds users: “No, we do not pre-screen members….
Anyone who is able to commit identity theft can also falsify a dating profile.” Got it, again. Still, the homepage felt very reassuring to me, with its three security badges promising a “100% discreet service.” Of course, that’s not true now that hackers are threatening to expose the pirated data if Ashley Madison and Established Men don’t close their doors.
Maybe it’s simply a way to find friends with similar interests?
That’s how it came to pass that (after telling my husband that I was writing this column), I joined.
On the homepage itself is the site’s unequivocal mission: “Men seeking other men for casual, no strings attached fun can find each other for chat, flirting, and more.”Got it. Unless we’re talking “friends with benefits.”As soon as I finished creating my fictitious profile, I hit search and was rewarded with 842 results, many of them with some variation of this tagline: “Married and happy but looking.” Okay, whatever.The group claimed to have targeted the company over its alleged fraudulent business practices, saying that Ashley Madison and Established Men's "full delete" tool does not remove users’ personal information for a one-time fee, as promised by the sites.