Twittergate: Hacked Docs Stir Up Questions of Ethics and Security

Recently a hacker obtained confidential documents containing information about Twitter’s business plans as well as user accounts and passwords. The hacker sent the documents to two blogs: Silicon Valley’s TechCrunch and Korben, a tech news site in France.

TechCrunch has spent the better part of a week publishing a few of the documents one blog post at a time. (Can we just call them TwitterCrunch at this point?) They claim to be working with Twitter and their legal team to determine which ones to post, but Twitter has denied giving permission for publication of any of the documents. Many comments left on TechCrunch’s blog were in opposition to the publication, as well.

Twitter and TechCrunch have agreed on one thing – the documents were not ready for prime time. Many of them were handwritten notes, for example.

I personally haven’t read the documents that have been released, though obviously it’s been hard not to catch a whim of what was included here and there. They were stolen. They’re confidential. I suppose that makes me a bad blogger/journalist, but I’ve got this “Do unto others” philosophy that I try to live by.

Taking ethics out of the question, I’m primarily more interested in what IS rather than is hoped for. After all, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” (Have you seen Pirates of Silicon Valley? What were Jobs’ and Gates’ original plans? Where was Apple in the late 1990s?)

What would you have done if you had received the documents? Publish them? Blackmail Twitter? Let us know your gut reaction in the comments below.

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