Minister of Finance Bjarni “Icehot1” Benediktsson was amongst Ashley Madison’s millions of users, reporters have found. His wife’s account of their activity on the site contradicts data from the site itself, while a city councilperson for the Pirate Party calls the matter “a violation of privacy”.
Bjarni’s e-mail was amongst the millions found in the data dump released by hackers of the popular online adultery service, Stundin reports. Bjarni’s wife, Þóra Margrét Baldvinsdóttir, responded on Facebook by saying that the couple registered for the site in 2008 “out of curiosity” and did not sign in again, nor did either of them make contact with anyone through the site.
Stundin reporters – who repeatedly tried to contact Bjarni and his assistants for a response, to no avail – have discovered that Þóra’s account is contradicted by the data.
According to their findings, the site was accessed with Bjarni’s sign-in details on September 13, 2008, shortly before midnight. He was, at this time, an MP for the Independence Party and not a minister. However, the site was also accessed with his sign-in details two more times: on October 21, 2011 and on January 25, 2013. On both occasions he was chairperson of the Independence Party.
Other details of his Ashley Madison profile include a birthday listed as January 25, 1970 (his actual birthday is on the 26th) and his location as Bradenton, Florida. At the time the profile was registered, Bjarni’s father, Benedikt Sveinsson, had a house in that town. While it is unknown what Bjarni’s security question was, the answer was “MR”. Bjarni is a graduate of the secondary school Menntaskóli í Reykjavík.
The user name for the profile, “Icehot1”, listed the following description: “Its about being interested in a nice looking woman, wanting to have an intelligent and fun conversation and good…very good sex. Im not from the States but do travel quite often.”
While much of the Icelandic media is abuzz with the news, Halldór Auðar Svansson, a Reykjavík city councilperson for the Pirate Party, came to Bjarni’s defense in a blog post where he compared Bjarni to Nigerian asylum seeker Tony Omos.
Halldór points out that the right to privacy is in place to protect the defenseless against the powerful, and is vastly different from the concept of transparency in government. He argues that Bjarni, in this case, was the powerless one when compared to the Ashley Madison hackers, and that the information revealed by the hack does not serve the public good.
“Bjarni Benediktsson is the Tony Omos of the day,” he concluded. “Stripped of his right to privacy by parties who decided to take that power into their own hands, without the behest of the public. I defended Tony at the time, and I do it again today about Bjarni.”