Whenever Michael Arrington posts anything on TechCrunch with a theme of "Ethics 101," you know you're in for some unintentional high comedy. Such was the case today when someone calling himself "Hacker Croll" dumped a carton of internal Twitter documents on TechCrunch's doorstep.
Apparently Twitter keeps all its corporate docs in a Google cloud, and some hacker with a lot of time on his hands was able to use Google's password recovery tools to gain access to the goods. But Croll didn't just grab official Twitter memos; he (she?) managed to hack Twitter founder Evan Williams' PayPal, Amazon, Apple, and AT&T accounts, as well personal information for other Twitter employees and the names of people who've interviewed for jobs there.
[ This isn't the first time Cringely and the 'Crunch have tangled. See the earlier post: "Conversation? What conversation?" | Stay up to date on Robert X. Cringely's musings and observations with InfoWorld's Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]
In a blog post, Captain Crunch publicly debated whether to post some of the documents, many of which were of a highly personal nature. Then he decided to publish some of them anyway (though he says he would not publish overtly personal information).
The funny thing is, lots of TechCrunch readers -- most of whom are loyal to Arrington in a way unmatched by anybody this side of Rush Limbaugh fans -- didn't want him to publish any of it. The Guardian's Charles Arthur puts it nicely:
His readers were less impressed - and if TechCrunch's readers aren't impressed, you can bet that what has been done is really unimpressive.
In a Twitpoll (yes, there really is such a thing) posted by Felipe Coimbra, roughly 54 percent of Twitter responders said publishing the docs would be unethical. Only a third supported putting the docs online.
Yet did that deter the Arringtard? Not a bit. In a response to the responses, he wrote: