Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ashley Madison doesn't live in Washington, Indiana.

Ashley Madison doesn't live in Washington, Indiana
by: Christopher Wiles

Many of you have just the same amount of knowledge concerning Ashley Madison as my wife and I had last week.  "Ashley who?" is the question we asked when the name of an affair driven website was brought to us.  Sadly, some of you reading this now may be already too acquainted with this horrendous website that has been all over the national news.  My wife and I would be happy to support you in prayer and counsel if you're already struggling with it.  If you don't know anything about the Ashley Madison website, why don't you sit back for a minute and let me fill you in on what I've learned about Ashley Madison and why it makes me very proud of the city of Washington, IN.

ASHLEY MADISON WEBSERVICE
 I was introduced to the Ashley Madison idea after ministry friends of mine posted news articles about it on their Facebook news feed.  It turns out that Ashley Madison is a website that specializes in facilitating marriage affairs. My wife heard about it through friends of FB as well.  Business Insider describes the website this way, "One of the best-known cheating sites is Ashley Madison."  When I do a search on Ashley Madison through Google, this is the text of the advertisement that comes up first in my list.  "The Original Extramarital Affairs Site. As Seen On Dr. Phil & Ellen."  It's so widely used that one Yahoo news report shows that only three zip codes in the US don't have Ashley Madison accounts.  How do we know where AM user accounts live?

THE CHEATERS GOT CHEATED ON.  Yes, Ashley Madison was hacked and something to the tune of 32 million users' information has been made available on the web.  The hacked and leaked information is not easy for the average web user like me to view but there are a couple of sites that give you a smidgen of access to this enormous database that contains usernames, emails, and financial data.  The one that worked well for me was, https://ashley.cynic.al/, which allowed me to search email addresses to see if they were registered in the database.  I searched all the email addresses that I regularly send email to, and all came back clear. (Whew, I'm glad I don't have to have any of those one-on-one conversations at church!)  There is also this google map that displays the physical location of Ashley Madison accounts: ASHLEY MADISON GOOGLE MAP.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WASHINGTON, IN. After searching the Google Map for the zip code 47501, I was excited to see that Washington, Indiana has no presence on the Ashley Madison Hack database.  Elnora, Otwell, Bruceville, Vincennes, Cannelburg, Shoals, Loogootee, and more have been revealed by the hack to have accounts set up on the Ashley Madison website.  Wahoo!  Congratulations Washington on being Ashley Madison hacked accounts free!  
Click the image to view a larger version.


WHAT THIS DOESN'T MEAN.  It doesn't mean that our city is AM free though.  The Ashley Madison website boasts nearly 40 million user profiles.  If 32 million user profiles have been hacked, then there is still 20% of the accounts that haven't been exposed yet.  It could be that Washington still has Ashley Madison accounts.  It also doesn't mean we don't have cheaters, liars, drunkards, and all sorts of other people who accept, condone, and participate in sin that is very obviously condemned in the Bible.  We're not a perfect community, so there's still a lot of work for us to do!

WHY DOES IT MATTER TO ME?  I support families (including my own) by watching out for them and then educating them to watch out for themselves.  Back in the days of MySpace, I was serving for five years as a youth minister in Franklin, TN.  One set of parents in our church knew that they were struggling to keep up with the fast paced technology that their teenagers were getting into.  After hearing their plea for help, my wife and I agreed to help watch their kiddos on MySpace and alert the parents if anything "bad" was going on.  We also helped educate them on how emerging social media worked.  Many parents worry about their kids' online relationships (especially when sexual predator videos such as this one are released) but are at a loss following the various emerging technology that gives people access to relationships with their children.  My wife and I have spent years being an extra set of "eyes" on the internet for parents and friends as well as a resource for technology education.  


Does it worry you that a preacher and
his wife might see your "booty call"
profile on Tinder?
(The "booty call" app is what one of
our elder's wives calls Tinder!)
No, we don't operate as morality police.  We like to think of ourselves as part of a "Neighborhood Net Watch" (yes, I came up with that based on the old Neighborhood Watch system), a group that watches out for the local community on the internet and reports potentially dangerous situations.  In fact, I've talked with our local police detective about GPS app vulnerability in our area.  I've also had lunch with our police chief about creating a formalized "Neighborhood Net Watch" to help in watching our local network as the GPS based social media apps continue to invade the safety and privacy of our homes.  Yes, I do have Yik Yak, Tinder, and Erodr accounts with accompanying full accountability and knowledge of them by my wife and the Washington Police Chief.  I also make sure people know who I am and what I'm about on those apps.  We do all this in hopes of supporting our community families.  (p.s. Do you know of a GPS based social media app I don't know about yet?  Send it to me in the comments below so that I can make parents more aware of what safety issues are lurking on their family phones.)  (p.p.s. Are you interested in helping monitor our community on GPS based apps through a formalized "Neighborhood Net Watch"?  If you've got a smart phone, a desire to help our community, a clean background check, and good accountability from your spouse, send me a message!)

WHAT DO YOU DO NOW? 
If you:
  • Are Concerned About Your Marriage - If you previously have had a reason to be concerned about your own marriage, or you are an accountable community leader with decent conflict resolution skills, go do an email search of the Ashley Madison Hack by clicking here: https://ashley.cynic.al/ 
  • Are Concerned About Your Community - If you want to see how your community is represented on the Ashley Madison Google Map, then go here: ASHLEY MADISON GOOGLE MAP
  • Found Someone with a profile on Ashley Madison - Then take a few minutes to calm down before you TALK TO THEM.  Yes, I said TALK TO THEM.  "If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over." - Matthew 18:15
    • Don't text them or FB message them.  
    • Don't post it on social media.  
    • Don't talk to anyone else, except for perhaps a close confidant who will pray with you and give you advice before YOU handle this with the person you found.  "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel." - Proverbs 12:15
    • PRAY.  Consider even praying and fasting while seeking scriptural guidance, because you need the wisdom of God in this one.  "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." - James 1:5
    • Talk to that person face-to-face if at all possible.  If it isn't possible to see them face-to-face, then handle it directly with them via phone (voicemail doesn't count as a good way to handle conflict).  
    • When you do speak with that person, ASK QUESTIONS (Jesus did it a lot to handle conflict), rather than make statements.  Don't try to build traps with your questions, just come right out and say, "John Doe, I really care about you and our relationship as friends/wife/husband, which is why I want to ask you a question.  Will you tell me about your profile on the Ashley Madison website?"  Then wait for their response and ask more questions.  
    • Remember to be gently correct them because you don't want to ruin a relationship by sinful anger yourself.  "Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted." - Galatians 6:1
  •  Want educate others with this little bit of wisdom, tell them:
    • There is no real privacy on the internet.  EVERYTHING YOU DO ON THE INTERNET IS SAVED SOMEWHERE!  This makes sense when you stop to think about what the internet really is.  It is a collection of computers all connected together.  Every time you view a webpage, you are downloading information from another computer to your own, where it is stored for your web browser to translate it into visual images and text you can understand.  
      • Do you really think SnapChat doesn't have record of anything you've sent?  Check out this statement in their terms of service. "The Snapchat Privacy Policy is incorporated into these Terms. By accepting these Terms, you agree to the collection, use, and sharing of your information through the Services in accordance with the Privacy Policy." - Snapchat.com/terms
      • Do you really think those "discreet" relationships on Ashley Madison are private?  Why then do they have this disclaimer in the fine print? “We cannot ensure the security or privacy of information you provide through the Internet.” - Fox59.com
      • There is no real privacy on the internet!
  • Want to make the world a better place by being a visible deterrent and reporting presence online, then contact me.  Let's talk about this "Neighborhood Net Watch" idea or maybe an idea you have for something even better.  
  • Want to pray for your community, then have faith and hope in these words. "13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him,anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." - James 5:13-16