“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” One of the most striking aspects of the Seventh Commandment is its utter simplicity. Without equivocation or evasion, God’s law is clear and self-explanatory. The very fact that God included adultery in the “thou shall nots” of the Ten Commandments indicates its particular evil and danger. Moses did not have to provide further elaboration.
The motto of Ashley Madison, the now-infamous Internet business once described as “the premier ‘dating’ website for aspiring adulterers,” is equally clear — “Life is short. Have an affair.” I wrote an essay on Ashley Madison as “Adultery Incorporated” back in 2011, after Bloomberg Businessweek published a cover story on the business. Back then, it was clear that many people saw Ashley Madison as a joke. No one is laughing now.
Everything changed with the hacking of the Ashley Madison website and the release of over 37 million names, along with account information. Now, millions around the world who had paid no attention to Ashley Madison or the “Dark Web” found themselves staggered by the sheer scale of the adultery enterprise. Millions of others faced the reality that their Ashley Madison registration was about to go public, often along with incriminating details.
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