The Current

Ashley Madison leak reveals secrets better left unseen

With reports of possibly millions more names being released from the Ashley Madison site, some say it's unethical to poke into what are private affairs between consenting adults. But it could also be unwise. When the truth is explosive, maybe it's better not to know. Today, we ask - can we handle truth?
Just because you can search the Ashley Madison data leak, doesn't mean that you should.

Ashley Madison touts itself as "the world's leading married dating service for discreet encounters." 

Well, it's not so discreet anymore. This week, the confidential client files of the go-to site for people looking to have an affair are now public thanks to hackers.

Ashley Madison says 1 in 5 Ottawa residents is a subscriber.

So what would you do if you found out your friend or co-worker made the list? Would you be prepared for that burden?

Sometimes knowledge isn't power... and today we ask if it would be better not to know.

John Herrman is co-editor of The Awl. He writes about media and the internet and joined us from New York.

Kashmir Hill says, just because the information is out there, doesn't mean we need to see it. She is the senior editor of Fusion's Real Future section in San Francisco.

If there's a cost to keeping a secret... the same can be said for learning of one. E. J. Masicampo is an assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

What do you think? Still feeling curious? Let us know.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Naheed Mustafa, Sonya Buyting and Nicole Abi-Najem.


♦ Early Notes on the Ashley Madison Hack - John Herrman, The Awl
♦ Ashley Madison hack:The value of averting your eyes - Kashmir Hill, Fusion
♦ Your secrets are killing your productivity - Columbia Business School
How Burdensome Are Secrets? - Tufts University