Here perhaps is a better question: How stupid do you have to be to fall for a scam like Ashley Madison? More on that question in a moment--and in a series of upcoming posts.
But first, more about Chuck Dean and Rob Campbell. We outed Dean as an Ashley Madison (AM) user in early September and even showed how he quoted Mark Twain in an effort to pick up women other than his wife. Campbell, the husband of Birmingham lawyer/politico Minda Riley Campbell and the son-in-law of former governor Bob Riley, got outed in late August--and we learned that Rob Campbell likes to provide oral sex, but apparently not to his wife.
What makes Dean and Campbell's extracurricular activities so stupid? Well, both of them claim in their Ashley Madison profiles that they are single. (See the profiles at the end of this post.) Now, the whole purpose of Ashley Madison is to perpetuate affairs--among people who are married or otherwise attached. If you are single and looking for someone to date, the Web is filled with sites for folks like you. (Here's an article about the 15 most popular dating sites, as of this month.)
|Charles J. Dean|
Heck, even Artur Davis, who has seen his political career go from "promising" to something that approximates "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," was not that stupid. Artur had the sense in his Ashley Madison profile to admit that he is "attached." Another word for attached is married. (Artur also describes himself as "shapely toned." Has another man in human history used those two words to describe his appearance?)
Here is the good news for Dean, Campbell, and Davis: They hardly are the only clodheads who were dense enough to use Ashley Madison--they have plenty of high-level, executive types as company.
Our Legal Schnauzer Computer Forensics and Accuracy Research Team (C-FART) has been pouring over Ashley Madison data from the infamous Team Impact hack, and the results are astounding. In fact, our research is nowhere near complete--and it's already astounding.
Our focus so far has been on Alabama and Missouri--the two states where I've lived in recent years--and the number of corporate, legal, political, executive types who fell for the AM scam is . . . well, if you think people who make lots of money by running businesses are smart, this might cause you to think twice about that.
According to one knowledgeable researcher, AM appears to have about 1,500 active female users, compared to 20 million men. In other words, millions of mostly married men were out there scrambling for affairs with women who, for the most part, did not exist. And these guys didn't see this coming?
What are some of the Alabama entities we've seen with Ashley Madison users, and this is mostly from checking only the Birmingham metro area? What about similar entities in Missouri?
We will address both questions in upcoming posts, and then we will get down to shining light on the prominent individuals involved. But first, here are summaries of Ashley Madison data for Chuck Dean, Rob Campbell, and Artur Davis.
(To be continued)
I wonder if Rob and Minda Riley are still married.
My guess is that they still are married, @11:42. Divorces can take awhile, especially when pretty significant assets are involved. Considering the amount of state funds that flowed to Bradley Arant during the Bob Riley administration, I think it's safe to assume Rob and Minda have substantial assets.
How did you get this information from the dark web? I respect your journalistic skills, but I never had the impression you were the kind of techie who could dig this stuff up.
I'm not a techie, although I am learning on that front. But mainly, I've had a lot of help. Legal Schnauzer never has been a one-man show, and we hardly are alone in being concerned about our broken justice system. We get a lot of help from intelligent readers who share our goals of shining light on injustice. The Ashley Madison reporting is a community effort, and it has taken a while to research because of the size of AM files. But we are getting there, and the corporate/legal/political names we've found--just in certain areas of Alabama and Missouri--is amazing.
I have a hard time understanding why this is an important story.
From what I understand the list is long, but many of the accounts are fake. Are you reporting on everyone who has an email on there, or just the people who paid for the service?
I think the email list is huge but unreliable.
I don't understand why you are doing this. Outing people on this site can be very hurtful to their families and their children.
It's one thing to do it to people like Rob Campbell who is in a political family. But private individuals? Even someone like a business executive or manager is private.
Why are you doing this? It's going to cause a lot of people, many innocent, a lot of pain.
I've reported so far only on individuals who have paid accounts, with detailed information about activity on those accounts. Also, I've contacted each individual and given them an opportunity to comment before publishing information. If something is incorrect, or they have been the victim of a bogus account, that gives them the opportunity to bring that to my attention before anything is published. I intend to follow a similar reporting standard on future posts.
I agree that when you compare this to police brutality or public servant corruption, this is not even in the same playing field. What people do at home on their own time (within legal limits) is their choice and the freedom that you always discuss when talking first amendment rights. For whatever lapse they had...this is not illegal (unlike the shooting in Chicago or your wife's arrest).
That being said...I'm assuming you are not using the email addresses contained in the hack? Most of those...even those with paid accounts, used "burner" emails that may long since be deleted. Anyone that is public enough for any reader to care about should have an easily found "official" email address at work or other places.
I disagree with @2:11. I wish more media outlets would take a deep look at this story. No matter how private a man thinks he might be, if he is an executive at a company, partner at a law firm, administrator at a university (and so on), he deals with the public and uses public resources. As a consumer, taxpayer, etc. I think we have a right to know how these people spend some of their free time--especially if it involves extremely poor judgment and a tendency to cheat.
What about that man's 10 year old who gets bullied at school because of his father's sin? The deeply shamed wife? You care at all about them?
@3:07...everyone uses public resources. Police, military, fireman, teachers, etc are all consumers of our tax dollars. Should Legal Schnauzer do an expose on all those who have publically confessed to having affairs in divorce settlements? Those would be much more telling of what a person actually did than this hack with potentially bad info in it. Where do you draw the line?
Just my two cents, @3:26, but I draw the line at whatever LS, or any other reporter, has the time and resources to investigate. I doubt a reporter is going to have time to go through volumes of divorce cases of private individuals. But the Ashley Madison hack is an international story--the information is out there. Any journalist who can sift through it, make sense of all that material, and report accurately about what the records show . . . I say more power to them.
Is it a journalist's job to worry about the feelings of every 10 year old who might get bullied or every wife who might feel shamed? If it is, then no story ever will get reported. The kinds of family issues you raise, @3:19, should be handled by the family. I, for one, don't want a reporter worrying about that. Were Woodward and Bernstein supposed to worry about Pat and Julie Nixon's feelings and spike their stories because of such concerns? I don't think so.
In the instance of AM, the would-be cheater should have thought of those issues before signing up for the service.
@3:52...I've heard that argument before. The Nixons CHOSE to live a very public life. Some of the people potentially exposed on here may have not had kids at the time. And certainly did not sign up for a "Nixon" kind of life. I'm sorry...that argument is apples and oranges to me.
@3:07 -- this is a slippery slope to a privacy nightmare. I mean, what if the next hack is about something very intimate that affects you, like health care information. Let's say you were treated for mental health problems, and that gets dumped on the net. Does the public have a "right" to know that just because you happen to be a white collar professional? Very scary in my opinion. I think privacy is dead if that is the case.
I find myself agreeing with those who wonder why LS is chasing this story any longer, especially with regards to non elected government officials.
It seems to me that LS is a very important voice in our slide towards a police state. He has first had experience on this issue with the tragic story of his wife. I'd love to see his platform focus on being an important voice for all of those around the nation being abused by criminal law enforcement. He can make a real difference to millions in this manner and it's one of the more important issues we've encountered as a nation in decades.
I understand your concerns about health-care information, @8:43, but I think you are confusing different issues. I'm not an expert on this subject, but there are a lot of laws protecting health-care information, and I'm pretty sure any journalist who violated said laws would face serious consequences. The individual, to a great extent, has no control over the health issues he or she faces. But I'm not aware of any laws that protect information about cheating on an extramarital affairs Web site--and that involves choices individuals voluntarily make.
I share your concern about privacy on one subject, but not so much on the other.
This is the website hack from July? 5 months ago? I'm a big fan of the blog as you exposure police and legal corruption. I'm a big fan of yours and always root for you, but I'm not a fan of exposing private citizens who appear to have been competing for the attention of fembots. Your call, but I won't waste my time and frankly don't really care about the sex lives of other people.
Whether you read or don't read, that's your call, @3:52, and I will respect that. I think it's only fair to point out one thing. You suggest that this is an old story from five months ago. In fact, this story involves a massive amount of data, and it requires quite an effort to analyze it, even for just one state. That might explain the lack of effort by many news outlets to take a hard look at it, but that doesn't mean it's an old story--and, in my view, it doesn't mean it's not an important story.
How about you publish on the prevalence of mass shootings (San Bernadino etc) and the unwillingness of mainstream media and the government to address due to the influence of the NRA? That's a real issue that is literally impacting and killing Americans.
I don't agree with Ashley Madison as a business, however as a privacy advocate I feel strongly about treating all data resulting from any illegal hack as stolen property. To me it doesn't matter where it came from. If it was obtained illegally then it's hot data (no pun intended) and I wouldn't touch it will a ten foot pole. To me anyone who is in possession or distributes this data for any reason is just as guilty as the Impact Team who hacked the data in the first place.
Unfortunately it's going to take a lot of damage before the majority of people in this world feel the same way as I do. We're still living in a time when people feel safe online as long as they don't join a sleazy site on the Internet. Data obtained illegally is illegal no matter what the data is. Ridiculous to judge what type of stolen data can be spread and what type can't.
Continue on with the public shaming....errr I mean journalism :)
Life is short, particularly for men in my family. That's why I'm spending less time on the Internet now that I'm over 40. Keep the young people involved, even if it's sorting through these long lists. They are the future. The Great Spirit could call us home at anytime. Your responsibility is to inspire the Children of Liberty to fight the system. Even if their role is sorting through these lists of cheating husbands or masturbating into a cup at the sperm bank to produce more people who think like we do, their role is important. I'd like to write more, but I've got to go grocery shopping for some high quality meat & find some good porn so I can produce plenty of healthy sperm for the next round of donations. My progeny is going to be the next generation of lawyers & government officials in Alabama. John Baker's genes must lead us into the future!
I understand your feelings, @8:18, but the U.S. Supreme Court has taken a different view:
Based on that exact same article you quote above, it says individuals own the copyright to anything they write (or pictures) on the website. So, if you share that info, you are sharing copyrighted info and open to requests to remove.
You might want to bone up on this subject a bit more. From the Consumerist article:
"As much as Ashley Madison and all its users wish it were not so, not only is the data probably not subject to copyright claims… but also even if it were, the media can still talk about it as much as they want.
"The hackers absolutely broke laws when they stole information from inside Avid Life Media. But media who report on the information are not breaking laws. National security concerns aside (that’s covered by different law), the press can basically run with any information given to them innocently, even if the person giving it to them obtained it illegally.
"That’s courtesy of another Supreme Court case, Bartnicki v. Vopper. In that case, a radio station broadcast a recording that had been given to them. The recording itself was in violation of federal wiretapping laws, but the radio station was found not to be liable."
For those who are interested, Bartnicki v. Vopper is key case law here:
Hey legalschnauzer 8:18 again. I appreciate the article and your understanding. I know most people don't share my strong position against handling data related to any data breach, however this is still a gray area and I think eventually it will change. For example, DMCA was irrelevant to the 3 site owners who settled Case No. 2:15-cv-01768-DJH
Don't put too much faith in the Supreme Court. Things have a tendency of changing time to time. If that wasn't true then you wouldn't be linking to a 1982 article. You'd be linking to a 1776 article. :)
Take care and be careful is all I'm saying. Like I said, I wouldn't touch that data with a 10 foot pole.
Regards - 8:18
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