A Data Breach with real damage

Some of you aren’t going to be sympathetic on this one, but have you heard of PornWikiLeaks?  I was looking at CNet this morning and at the top of the list of most popular links was the story of how someone had set up a site to out the real identities of Porn actors/actresses.  The data was apparently stolen from a medical testing service the porn industry uses to test for STDs.

My first reaction was that this must be some porn fan trying to have a little fun, but that clearly isn’t the case.  PornWikiLeaks is promising to release information about each actors’ STD status.  And a look at a couple of profiles they are building shows quite a bit of derogatory commentary.  This looks pretty close to the serial killer who attempts to justify their killing spree by claiming they were only ridding the world of prostitutes.

In real life PornWikiLeaks will almost certainly destroy a few families and even has the potential to lead to deaths (e.g., from suicide).  And while many will not be sympathetic to this particular demographic’s plight, very similar things could happen to any of us.

The loss of privacy that is occurring due to “bad guys” exploitation of the Internet, and in particular through data breaches, is horrifying.  It is sad to think that it will take people actually dying as a result before industry, government, and individuals take the problem seriously enough.


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