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It could take years to see full impact of Ashley Madison hack

In our previous post we speculated about the influence that our online lives can have on our real lives. We reflected in that item about how many who participate in the activities that are supported on such venues as the online spouse cheating site Ashley Madison don't see what they do in that virtual setting as a betrayal of their spouses.

The logic goes that they didn't actually have an affair, so it's not infidelity. Of course, one psychologist who has studied the use of such sites says that isn't the way the spouses of the subscribers view things. She says they do feel betrayed and it has led some to seek her counsel.

There is no data to indicate that the hack of the Madison site, which unearthed the identifications of millions of individuals, has resulted in a major uptick in couples seeking a divorce here in Texas or anywhere else in the country. But there has been some significant, tragic fallout.

The Miami Herald recently carried an item about a 56-year-old married father of two, described as an average guy, who killed himself after his identity as an Ashley Madison user was revealed.

Another pundit offers the opinion that the full effects of the hack could take years to be fully understood. For example, he notes that the email addresses of some 15,000 U.S. service people and government workers were among those that were compromised. Many may be fake, but officials say an investigation is underway and discipline could result.

The article offers other disturbing consequences of the release of information. One gay Saudi Arabian man reportedly fled his homeland because homosexuality is punishable by death. There are also reports of site members being threatened with exposure to friends, family and employers if they don't pay extortion.

And the reporter says, understanding that the hacked information will never disappear, the threat of exposure could linger for years to come. That's a major burden to carry for something that isn't illegal or perhaps even be morally wrong.

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