Twitter Hacked, TechCrunch Releases Sensitive Documents; Ethical?

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, July 15, 2009

twitter-hackwe profile existing companies that are making an impact (commercial and/or cultural) on the new web space. - TechCrunch

We know Techcrunch has gone way beyond that over the years. Thanks to our dear Michael Arrington who has his own philosophical ways of adapting quotes and tread a fine line between ‘ethical’ and ‘unethical’ with his own chalk. Anyway, our viewers will decide that. The story is, this time a hacker has hacked into Twitter accounts and extracted sensitive details and sent it to Techcrunch. And they, after being in a cooked up and made up dilemma, have decided to publish some of the confidential documents that can really embarrass organizations and twitter itself.

Just make a bold face and publish it for the sake of it MA. So many of TC’s followers call it a geeky version of tabloid these days. Does it really reach you? But anyway, this kind of hilarious justification is not acceptable from the blog that so many techies look upto.

And it certainly was unethical, or at least illegal or tortious, for the person who gave us the information and violated confidentiality and/or nondisclosure agreements. But on our end, it’s simply news.

How did it happen?

It seems to be a both way fault of Google and Twitter. Google has a very  easy way to get access to accounts via their password recovery question. The hacker breached it somehow and thus he was exposed to the information.

Again,  Twitter stored all of these documents and sensitive information in the cloud and has a very easy password recovery question too. So, all in all, it was sloppy from technical point of view. We will get back with the details when we have more information on that.

What the world is saying: To share or not to?

Its not only us. even the Techcrunch readers are also speaking against it. Here are some of the excerpts.

  1. m disappointed with techcrunch.. You can not call this as the right thing to do.
  2. I’m really disappointed in TechCrunch.Their argument maybe valid about how news happens but that doesn’t make it right.
  3. How do you expect people in the industry to respect you for what you’re doing? Sure it’ll be interesting, but at the end of the day it’s private information. Using the fact it’ll come out anyway to justify publication is like saying “if I don’t steal this car, someone else will”.And yeah Google need to tighten up password security, but again that’s like justifying stealing a car because the alarm system was no good.TechCrunch = gutter press
  4. You shouldn’t publish any of these documents… You shouldn’t even have posted this blog post.I think it’s unethical


And there are more. Though as characteristically charismatic Michael Arrington is, he didn’t pay heed to any of them and is going to publish it one by one. But after you reach the top, you need to understand a very simple quote that a movie lover like you should always remember: With more power, comes  more responsibilities. Acts like these will only make hackers aware of the publicity and cheap thrills associated with cracking and stealing others’ personal information coz there is always a tabloid waiting for them. Good luck with the news TC.

Oh by the way, we saw your quote on journalism that you follow. Here is one, kindly consider

It is not what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are accountable. –Molière

We know we are selectively blind when the situation demands and the spotlight is on you. :)

Here is the road to perdition being updated: Final Tweet: The Twitter Reality TV Show Pitch

July 16, 2009: 8:51 am

Yeah, he was always a jerk, I wonder though if he at all has a conscience LOL

July 16, 2009: 6:53 am

That saying really does say it all, “with more power, comes more responsibilities” so true. Those who have the power should use that power responsibly and ethically. Power can be addictive, and it takes discipline, control, and hard work to use that power wisely.

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