One of the aspects of the internet that makes it work so smoothly is its system of copies. Nothing is unique, scarce or precious when it can be infinitely multiplied, yet it allows for anyone to easily access the knowledge they need. This however has a darker side – everything we say and do is saved, monitored and can be found by anyone with enough skills and time on their hands, usually known as hackers.
We are always being warned to be careful what we do online in case future partners or employers find it, but in some cases it can become even more serious. Some of the largest online scandals have arisen thanks to this information being accessed by hackers. The breach of celebrities’ iCloud accounts (known colloquially as TheFappening or Celebgate) is a perfect example of hackers using their skills for malicious purposes. The leaking of Ashley Madison users’ private details is another example. More recently, the #podestaemails (aka the leaking of Hillary Clinton’s emails) has resulted in an election shakeup.
Why do hackers feel they have the right to breach privacy? In some cases they may believe they are doing what is right – think Assange and Snowden’s actions. In the cases stated above, however, these individuals have taken advantage of metadata and used it to twist it to harm the image of others.