NEW YORK (
has been compromised for the last time.
It was bad enough that
network couldn't handle the
the iPhone. Now, as the iPad heats up, it turns out AT&T left open a gaping hole that created what has to be the most egregious of privacy breaches of our time -- some of our nation's richest and most powerful people have had their email addresses exposed.
, units of Gawker Media, parent to the
site that famously exposed the iPhone prototype to the world, broke this huge
story. Gawker says an outfit named
, no apparent relation to shock-porn site Goatse, discovered a vulnerability in AT&T's iPad users' page that, if bombarded with the right requests, would divulge the email addresses of iPad subscribers.
Brace yourself. Harvey Weinstein has an email address. Not only that -- New York City billionaire mayor and tech aficionado Michael Bloomberg has an iPad and an email address.
According to Goatse, these are just a few of an estimated 114,000 people it uncovered who have iPads and email addresses.
The list includes hard-charging government employees like White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and media titans like
CEO Ann Moore and
Diane Sawyer. The scandal sheet even includes well-placed people inside the Federal Communications Commission.
All of these A-listers have had their email exposed. Exposed to whom? Quite possibly the entire staff of Goatse, which notified AT&T of the vulnerability before going public with the scathing scandal.
This was a code red situation for AT&T and the company says it took its response right to the top.
"This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday," AT&T said in a statement Wednesday. "We have essentially turned off the feature that provided the e-mail addresses."
Well that's all swell, but it's too late for the victims of this terrible gaffe. Some very powerful people will never again go back to a time when the general public had no clue that they had email accounts. And there's no amount of money, Apple gift cards or iPad service credits that can remedy that.
Let's face it. Ma Bell blew it. This, along with all those pesky network issues, has to be the last straw. A national catastrophe of this scale all but forces Apple's hand. You can expect a joint Apple
within the year.
--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.