Ashley Madison was an Effective Altruist Conspiracy

Much as been said about the Ashley Madison hacks. Needless to say, my husband and I agree that anyone committing or attempting to commit infidelity is an abhorrence, who should be shunned by society. But that is not the topic of this essay. The question is, was the creation of the website itself a bad thing? Here is a theory that suggests its creation was actually a grand stroke of Effective Altruism.

Here is my conspiracy theory. Like all conspiracy theories, it ex-post fits the facts well, but probably should not be given a very high credence.

  1. Ashley Madison was set up by an activist who wanted to promote ethical behavior and punish the unjust.
  2. Firstly, it took money from people who wanted to commit infidelity. Taking money from people makes them worse off.
  3. Then, it didn’t provide any services. It never matched any cheaters up.
  4. After having handed over credit card details but not received anything, the would-be cheaters realized it was a scam.
  5. Then can’t take Ashley Madison to court, because that would be public record.
  6. So they try to get out … but realize Ashley Madison has them in an incriminating position.
  7. Ashley Madison extorts more money from them to delete their data.
  8. Ashley Madison does not delete the data.
  9. Ashley Madison discusses a possible IPO purely for the publicity. It knows it’s a fraud and could never stand up to auditing.
  10. Ashley Madison then hacks itself. This explains why they were able to access the data so easily. They had previously hacked another competing service.
  11. Ashley Madison then releases the data. This provides early downloaders with the opportunity to extort the would-be cheaters.
  12. Eventually all the would-be cheaters are revealed, and face the wrath of their poor spouses.
  13. No-one ever trusts an infidelity website again, making it harder to commit infidelity in future

So the net result is:

  1. Would-be cheaters are effectively fined a significant amount of money.
  2. And then exposed.
  3. And no-one can ever create an infidelity website.

Ideally I would like to test this theory against the third dump of Noel Biderman’s emails. Unfortunately my torrent, like everyone else, seems to be stuck at 93.3%.