How do they prove adultery before video/digital evidence was available?

How do they prove adultery before video/digital evidence was available?

These days, husbands can install CC-Camera, Whatapp, SMS etc and catch their wive's adultery act red-handed. Using this evidence, they can file a case in the court for divorce.

How did they prove adultery in court before these forms of evidence were available?

It depends, but mainly by witnesses, catching during the act, or acting on mere suspicions

And at some times and cultures oaths and ordeals also came into the game

For example in the 10th century Constantinopolis, the process is described like this in the icelandic saga (see chapter 91 and 92):

The husband tried in wain to catch the wife's lover, and it was in this case the lady who demanded to be allowed to take an oath by a special ceremony before the bishop to prove her innocence. After she made the oath she promptly divorced him, and he was banished at the pressing of her kin for his false charges.

Or among the ancient Jews the standard procedure was to catch in the act or find witnesses, (in which case the wife was to be executed) but if that did not work, there was a special ordeal.

Hammurabi also required that both the wife and the lover shall be bound and thrown into water (covering only the case when they are caught lying together), but maintained that the husband is allowed to save his wife, and the king the lover, if he be his servant.

And in the last 150 years the well-off could also hire private investigators to spy on their spouses, and produce either photographical or indirect evidence.(like records on a secret booking in a hotel)

There are also plenty of examples in literature on the traps and ruses jealous people devised. (like pretending to travel abroad, and coming back unexpectedly)

Asian Americans have often needed to 'prove' racism. Then social media video came along.

In Sacramento, California, last Friday, a high school Spanish teacher made a slant-eyed gesture during a Zoom class. “If their eyes went up, they’re Chinese. If they’re down, they’re Japanese,” she said in a video recorded by a student. “If they’re just straight, you don’t know.”

Four months earlier, a U.S. marine threatened to shoot Chinese people in a viral video tweet. Addressing the group with a slur, he said, “China is going to pay for what they have done to this country and the world."

In another video recorded last July, a tech CEO taunted an Asian American family at an upscale Northern California restaurant, calling them an “Asian piece of s---.” Uproar over the clip, which has been viewed more than 1 million times on Instagram, forced the man to resign.

Fueled by former President Donald Trump’s anti-China rhetoric, the Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed an onslaught of hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islanders. In 2020, the group Stop AAPI Hate received more than 2,800 self-reports of coronavirus discrimination nationwide, from verbal harassment to physical assault.

I’d Do It Again

Elvis Reenters the Building

American Special Ops Forces Are Everywhere

But the attention paid to the connection between porn and infidelity doesn’t translate into anything like a consensus on what that connection is. Polls show that Americans are almost evenly divided on questions like whether porn is bad for relationships, whether it’s an inevitable feature of male existence, and whether it’s demeaning to women. This divide tends to cut along gender lines, inevitably: women are more likely to look at pornography than in the past, but they remain considerably more hostile to porn than men are, and considerably less likely to make use of it. (Even among the Internet generation, the split between the sexes remains stark. A survey of American college students last year found that 70 percent of the women in the sample never looked at pornography, compared with just 14 percent of their male peers almost half of the men surveyed looked at porn at least once a week, versus just 3 percent of the women.)

One perspective, broadly construed, treats porn as a harmless habit, near-universal among men, and at worst a little silly. This is the viewpoint that’s transformed adult-industry icons like Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy from targets of opprobrium into C-list celebrities. It’s what inspires fledgling stars to gin up sex tapes in the hope of boosting their careers. And it’s made smut a staple of gross-out comedy: rising-star funnyman Seth Rogen has gone from headlining Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up, in which his character’s aspiration to run a pornographic Web site was somewhat incidental to the plot, to starring in Kevin Smith’s forthcoming Zack and Miri Make a Porno, in which the porn business promises to be rather more central.

A second perspective treats porn as a kind of gateway drug—a vice that paves the way for more-serious betrayals. A 2004 study found that married individuals who cheated on their spouses were three times as likely to have used Internet pornography as married people who hadn’t committed adultery. In Tom Perrotta’s bestselling Little Children, the female protagonist’s husband—who is himself being cuckolded—progresses from obsessing over an online porn star named “Slutty Kay” to sending away for her panties to joining a club of fans who pay to vacation with her in person. Brink­ley’s husband may have followed a similar trajectory, along with many of the other porn-happy celebrity spouses who’ve featured in the gossip pages and divorce courts lately.

Maybe it’s worth sharpening the debate. Over the past three decades, the VCR, on-demand cable service, and the Internet have completely overhauled the ways in which people interact with porn. Innovation has piled on innovation, making modern pornography a more immediate, visceral, and personalized experience. Nothing in the long history of erotica compares with the way millions of Americans experience porn today, and our moral intuitions are struggling to catch up. As we try to make sense of the brave new world that VHS and streaming video have built, we might start by asking a radical question: Is pornography use a form of adultery?

The most stringent take on this matter comes, of course, from Jesus of Nazareth: “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” But even among Christians, this teaching tends to be grouped with the Gospel injunctions about turning the other cheek and giving would-be robbers your possessions—as a guideline for saintliness, useful to Francis of Assisi and the Desert Fathers but less helpful to ordinary sinners trying to figure out what counts as a breach of marital trust. Jimmy Carter’s confession to Playboy that he had “lusted in [his] heart” still inspires giggles three decades later. Most Americans, devout or secular, are inclined to distinguish lustful thoughts from lustful actions, and hew to the Merriam-Webster definition of adultery as “voluntary sexual intercourse between a married man and someone other than his wife or between a married woman and someone other than her husband.”

On the face of things, this definition would seem to let porn users off the hook. Intercourse, after all, involves physicality, a flesh-and-blood encounter that Internet Explorer and the DVD player can’t provide, no matter what sort of adultery the user happens to be committing in his heart.

But there’s another way to look at it. During the long, late-winter week that transformed the governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, into an alleged john, a late-night punch line, and finally an ex-governor, there was a lively debate on blogs and radio shows and op-ed pages about whether prostitution ought to be illegal at all. Yet amid all the chatter about whether the FBI should have cared about Spitzer’s habit of paying for extramarital sex, next to nobody suggested, publicly at least, that his wife ought not to care—that Silda Spitzer ought to have been grateful he was seeking only sexual gratification elsewhere, and that so long as he was loyal to her in his mind and heart, it shouldn’t matter what he did with his penis.

Start with the near-universal assumption that what Spitzer did in his hotel room constituted adultery, and then ponder whether Silda Spitzer would have had cause to feel betrayed if the FBI probe had revealed that her husband had paid merely to watch a prostitute perform sexual acts while he folded himself into a hotel armchair to masturbate. My suspicion is that an awful lot of people would say yes—not because there isn’t some distinction between the two acts, but because the distinction isn’t morally significant enough to prevent both from belonging to the zone, broadly defined, of cheating on your wife.

You can see where I’m going with this. If it’s cheating on your wife to watch while another woman performs sexually in front of you, then why isn’t it cheating to watch while the same sort of spectacle unfolds on your laptop or TV? Isn’t the man who uses hard-core pornography already betraying his wife, whether or not the habit leads to anything worse? (The same goes, of course, for a wife betraying her husband—the arguments in this essay should be assumed to apply as well to the small minority of women who use porn.)

Fine, you might respond, but there are betrayals and then there are betrayals. The man who lets his eyes stray across the photo of Gisele Bündchen, bare-assed and beguiling on the cover of GQ, has betrayed his wife in some sense, but only a 21st-century Savonarola would describe that sort of thing as adultery. The line that matters is the one between fantasy and reality—between the call girl who’s really there having sex with you, and the porn star who’s selling the image of herself having sex to a host of men she’ll never even meet. In this reading, porn is “a fictional, fantastical, even allegorical realm,” as the cultural critic Laura Kipnis described it in the mid-1990s—“mythological and hyperbolic” rather than realistic, and experienced not as a form of intercourse but as a “popular-culture genre,” like true crime or science fiction.

This seems like a potentially reasonable distinction to draw. But the fantasy-versus-reality, pixels-versus-flesh binary feels more appropriate to the pre-Internet landscape than to one where people spend hours every day in entirely virtual worlds, whether they’re accumulating “friends” on Facebook, acting out Tolkienesque fantasies in World of Warcraft, or flirting with a sexy avatar in Second Life. And it feels much more appropriate to the tamer sorts of pornography, from the increasingly archaic (dirty playing cards and pinups, smutty books and the Penthouse letters section) to the of-the-moment (the topless photos and sex-scene stills in the more restrained precincts of the online pornosphere), than it does to the harder-core material at the heart of the porn economy. Masturbating to a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model (like Christie Brinkley, once upon a time) or a Playboy centerfold is a one-way street: the images are intended to provoke fantasies, not to embody reality, since the women pictured aren’t having sex for the viewer’s gratification. Even strippers, for all their flesh-and-blood appeal, are essentially fantasy objects—depending on how you respond to a lap dance, of course. But hard-core pornography is real sex by definition, and the two sexual acts involved—the on-camera copulation, and the masturbation it enables—are interdependent: neither would happen without the other. The whole point of a centerfold is her unattainability, but with hard-core porn, it’s precisely the reverse: the star isn’t just attainable, she’s already being attained, and the user gets to be in on the action.

Moreover, the way the porn industry is evolving reflects the extent to which the Internet subverts the fantasy-reality dichotomy. After years of booming profits, the “mainstream” porn studios are increasingly losing ground to start-ups and freelancers—people making sex videos on their beds and sofas and shag carpeting and uploading them on the cheap. It turns out that, increasingly, Americans don’t want porn as a “kind of science fiction,” as Kipnis put it—they want realistic porn, porn that resembles the sex they might be having, and porn that at every moment holds out the promise that they can join in, like Peter Cook masturbating in front of his webcam.

So yes, there’s an obvious line between leafing through a Playboy and pulling a Spitzer on your wife. But the line between Spitzer and the suburban husband who pays $29.95 a month to stream hard-core sex onto his laptop is considerably blurrier. The suburbanite with the hard-core porn hookup is masturbating to real sex, albeit at a DSL-enabled remove. He’s experiencing it in an intimate setting, rather than in a grind house alongside other huddled masturbators in raincoats, and in a form that’s customized to his tastes in a way that mass-market porn like Deep Throat and Debbie Does Dallas never was. There’s no emotional connection, true—but there presumably wasn’t one on Spitzer’s part, either.

This isn’t to say the distinction between hiring a prostitute and shelling out for online porn doesn’t matter in moral issues, every distinction matters. But if you approach infidelity as a continuum of betrayal rather than an either/or proposition, then the Internet era has ratcheted the experience of pornography much closer to adultery than I suspect most porn users would like to admit.

It’s possible, of course, to consider hard-core porn use a kind of infidelity and shrug it off even so. After all, human societies have frequently made sweeping accommodations for extramarital dalliances, usually on the assumption that the male libido simply can’t be expected to submit to monogamy. When apologists for pornography aren’t making Kipnis-style appeals to cultural transgression and sexual imagination, they tend to fall back on the defense that it’s pointless to moralize about porn, because men are going to use it anyway.

Here’s Dan Savage, the popular Seattle-based sex columnist, responding to a reader who fretted about her boyfriend’s porn habit—“not because I’m jealous,” she wrote, “but because I’m insecure. I’m sure many of those girls are more attractive than me”:

Savage’s perspective is hardly unique, and is found among women as well as men. In 2003, three psychology professors at Illinois State University surveyed a broad population of women who were, or had been, in a relationship with a man who they knew used pornography. About a third of the women described the porn habit as a form of betrayal and infidelity. But the majority were neutral or even positively disposed to their lover’s taste for smut, responding slightly more favorably than not to prompts like “I do not mind my partner’s pornography use” or “My partner’s pornography use is perfectly normal.”

This point of view—that looking at pornography is a “perfectly normal” activity, one that the more-judgmental third of women need to just stop whining about—has been strengthened by the erosion of the second-order arguments against the use of porn, especially the argument that it feeds misogyny and encourages rape. In the great porn debates of the 1980s, arguments linking porn to violence against women were advanced across the ideological spectrum. Feminist crusaders like Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon denounced smut as a weapon of the patriarchy the Christian radio psychologist (and future religious-right fixture) James Dobson induced the serial killer Ted Bundy to confess on death row to a pornography addiction the Meese Commission on Pornography declared, “In both clinical and experimental settings, exposure to sexually violent materials has indicated an increase in the likelihood of aggression.” It all sounded plausible—but between 1980 and 2004, an era in which porn became more available, and in more varieties, the rate of reported sexual violence dropped, and by 85 percent. Correlation isn’t necessarily causation, but the sharpness of the decline at least suggests that porn may reduce sexual violence, by providing an outlet for some potential sex offenders. (Indeed, the best way to deter a rapist might be to hook him up with a high-speed Internet connection: in a 2006 study, the Clemson economist Todd Kendall found that a 10 percent increase in Internet access is associated with a 7 percent decline in reported rapes.)

And what’s true of rapists could be true of ordinary married men, a porn apologist might argue. For every Peter Cook, using porn and sleeping around, there might be countless men who use porn as a substitute for extramarital dalliances, satisfying their need for sexual variety without hiring a prostitute or kicking off a workplace romance.

Like Philip Weiss’s friends, for instance. In the wake of the Spitzer affair, Weiss, a New York–based investigative journalist, came closer than any mainstream writer to endorsing not only the legalization of prostitution but the destigmatization of infidelity, in a rambling essay for New York magazine on the agonies that monogamy imposes on his buddies. Amid nostalgia for the days of courtesans and concubines and the usual plaints about how much more sophisticated things are in Europe, Weiss depicted porn as the modern man’s “common answer” to the marital-sex deficit. Here’s one of his pals dilating on his online outlets:

The use of the term enlightened is telling, since the strongest argument for the acceptance of pornography—and the hard-core variety in particular—is precisely that it represents a form of sexual progress, a more civilized approach to the problem of the male libido than either the toleration of mass prostitution or the attempt, from the Victorian era onward, to simultaneously legislate prostitution away and hold married couples to an unreasonably high standard of fidelity. Porn may be an evil, this argument goes, but it’s the least of several evils. The man who uses porn is cheating sexually, but he isn’t involving himself in an emotional relationship. He’s cheating in a way that carries none of the risks of intercourse, from pregnancy to venereal disease. And he’s cheating with women who may be trading sex for money, but are doing so in vastly safer situations than streetwalkers or even high-end escorts.

Indeed, in a significant sense, the porn industry looks like what advocates of legalized prostitution hope to achieve for “sex workers.” There are no bullying pimps and no police officers demanding sex in return for not putting the prostitutes in jail. There are regular tests for STDs, at least in the higher-end sectors of the industry. The performers are safely separated from their johns. And freelancers aren’t wandering downtown intersections on their own they’re filming from the friendly confines of their homes.

If we would just accept Dan Savage’s advice, then, and get over it, everyone would gain something. Weiss and his pals could have their “boys’ night out” online and enjoy sexual experiences that their marriages deny them. The majority of wives could rest secure in the knowledge that worse forms of infidelity are being averted some women could get into the act themselves, either solo or with their spouse, experiencing the thrill of a threesome or a ’70s key party with fewer of the consequences. The porn industry’s sex workers could earn a steady paycheck without worrying about pimps, police, or HIV. Every society lives with infidelity in one form or another, whether openly or hypocritically. Why shouldn’t we learn to live with porn?

Live with it we almost certainly will. But it’s worth being clear about what we’re accepting. Yes, adultery is inevitable, but it’s never been universal in the way that pornography has the potential to become—at least if we approach the use of hard-core porn as a normal outlet from the rigors of monogamy, and invest ourselves in a cultural paradigm that understands this as something all men do and all women need to live with. In the name of providing a low-risk alternative for males who would otherwise be tempted by “real” prostitutes and “real” affairs, we’re ultimately universalizing, in a milder but not all that much milder form, the sort of degradation and betrayal that only a minority of men have traditionally been involved in.

Go back to Philip Weiss’s pal and listen to him talk: Porn captures these women before they get smart … It’s painful to say, but that’s your boys’ night out. This is the language of a man who has accepted, not as a temporary lapse but as a permanent and necessary aspect of his married life, a paid sexual relationship with women other than his wife. And it’s the language of a man who has internalized a view of marriage as a sexual prison, rendered bearable only by frequent online furloughs with women more easily exploited than his spouse.

Calling porn a form of adultery isn’t about pretending that we can make it disappear. The temptation will always be there, and of course people will give in to it. I’ve looked at porn if you’re male and breathing, chances are so have you. Rather, it’s about what sort of people we aspire to be: how we define our ideals, how we draw the lines in our relationships, and how we feel about ourselves if we cross them. And it’s about providing a way for everyone involved, men and women alike—whether they’re using porn or merely tolerating it—to think about what, precisely, they’re involving themselves in, and whether they should reconsider.

The extremes of anti-porn hysteria are unhelpful in this debate. If the turn toward an “everybody does it” approach to pornography and marriage is wrong, it’s because that approach is wrong in and of itself, not because porn is going to wreck society, destroy the institution of marriage, and turn thousands of rapists loose to prey on unsuspecting women. Smut isn’t going to bring down Western Civilization any more than Nero’s orgies actually led to the fall of Rome, and a society that expects near-universal online infidelity may run just as smoothly as a society that doesn’t.

Which is precisely why it’s so easy to say that the spread of pornography means that we’re just taking a turn, where sex and fidelity are concerned, toward realism, toward adulthood, toward sophistication. All we have to give up to get there is our sense of decency.

How to check someone’s identity

You’ll need to know the ‘claimed identity’ of the person you’re checking. A claimed identity is a combination of information (often a name, date of birth and address) that represents the attributes of whoever a person is claiming to be.

When you have this information, you can find out if the person is who they say they are. This process is known as ‘identity checking’ and is made up of 5 parts:

You do not have to do all parts of the identity checking process at once. You can do them over any period of time and gradually build up your confidence in an identity.

You’ll get a score for each part of the identity checking process you do. Do not add these scores up.

Paternity Testing Had a Long History Before Today’s DNA Kits. The Science Hasn’t Always Matched the Hype

I n 2017, consumer DNA testing exploded, with more people purchasing home testing kits than in all prior years combined. Such growth is possible thanks to scientific advances and the rise over the past two decades of a direct-to-consumer testing industry. But while scientific research can take credit for the former, the media played a key role in the latter, by inventing something perhaps even more potent: paternity testing as a cultural phenomenon.

The press&rsquo fascination with the science of ancestry began long before such DNA tests were available. In the 1920s, researchers began to explore the development of genealogical tests &mdash research that, not coincidentally, occurred in an era of burgeoning interest in eugenics and racial pseudoscience.

Researchers were particularly taken with the possibility that science could discover an unknown father. A variety of new methods emerged in these years that promised to do just that. Some were patently pseudoscientific, such as the oscillophore, a machine invented by Dr. Albert Abrams, a San Francisco doctor who purported to reveal an individual&rsquos ancestry by measuring the electronic vibrations of their blood. Other methods had more validity but were still very rudimentary, such as the testing of parentage through inherited ABO blood types.

The press was transfixed by the new tests. It followed salacious cases like that of James A. Stillman, the fabulously wealthy president of National City Bank of New York, who charged that his wife&rsquos fourth child had been fathered by their groundskeeper. Would the parties request a test? What would it show? Stories of divorce, adultery and illicit affairs were a mainstay of the press in the roaring 1920s, and questions surrounding paternity testing became integral parts of these stories.

The papers explored such questions in relation to other kinds of sensational cases as well. In the summer of 1930, a baby mix-up in a Chicago hospital dominated the nation&rsquos headlines. The press eagerly followed the two sets of bereft parents, their disputed infants&mdashand the panel of 11 scientists appointed to solve the riddle (&ldquoBaby Shuffle Still Puckers Sages&rsquo Brow but Science Hopes to Solve Problem&rdquo). As novelists and playwrights had long known, mysteries of identity were the stuff of melodrama. In the 20th century, the mass media began to tell those stories to a fascinated public. It also introduced a new protagonist: the scientist. Science was not just a means to solve the puzzle. It was a central character, an exciting part of the story itself.

The press also helped make the very news it was reporting. Dr. Abrams was summoned by a San Francisco judge to weigh in on a case of a husband who disputed paternity of his wife&rsquos baby. The papers announced his verdict: &ldquoCourt Establishes Parentage of Baby by Electric Blood Test.&rdquo The headline was not exactly fake news, but it wasn&rsquot entirely true either. The judge had ruled that the husband was the father, as the blood test showed, but, based on what we know about contemporary debate about Abrams&rsquo device and California&rsquos legal code, it is likely the judge decided the case on the basis of the traditional legal presumption that husbands are the fathers of their wives&rsquo children.

That detail was lost in the coverage, however. The newspapers implied not only that Abrams&rsquo miraculous oscillophore was legitimate but that its validity had been certified by a judge on the California Superior Court.

Press coverage didn&rsquot just distort the legal part of the story it often garbled the scientific one too. In a 1921 article on &ldquoblood tests&rdquo as &ldquolove tests,&rdquo the Atlanta Constitution explained to readers the theory of George [sic] Mendel: &ldquothe odd numbered children of a family are supposed to be dominated by the parent whose sex is their own and the even numbered children by their opposite parent.&rdquo The press played a pedagogical role, explaining exciting new techniques to its readers. Its lessons weren&rsquot always accurate, but they shaped public attitudes nonetheless.

On the basis of press accounts, lawyers and litigants began to clamor for scientific tests of identity. In Lamont, Okla., (population 585), a mother wrote to Dr. Abrams. &ldquoI see by the papers that you can test blood and wondered if you would help me.&rdquo As in the Stillman and San Francisco cases, her estranged husband refused to recognize her 3-month-old daughter, and she implored Abrams to help her. In covering these new scientific developments, the press had not only shaped the perceptions of the curious but suggested solutions that were actively sought out by the desperate.

Fast forward to the dawn of DNA. Today the technology may be radically different from the oscillophore or rudimentary blood type tests, but the dynamics of science, law and the media remain strikingly similar.

For example, in the early 1980s, a British lawyer read in the newspaper about a new technique, DNA fingerprinting, that could identify an individual&rsquos parentage with an extremely high probability. The technology was untested in the courts, but the lawyer immediately thought of her clients, a woman whose son had been blocked from entering Britain when officials questioned the relationship between them. The new DNA technique soon proved their kinship claim to be true. Faced with these results as well as a preponderance of circumstantial evidence, the Home Office punted, conceding this particular case but making no judgment about the validity of the new DNA method.

That was not, however, the story the papers told. As in the case of Abrams&rsquo oscillophore more than a half-century earlier, the press reported that the all-powerful new test had been decisive in resolving the case. Thanks in large part to that coverage, the technique gained instant public legitimacy.

Today the use of DNA to prove identity has become common forensic practice, even as recreational ancestry testing has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry. Commercialization has only tightened the relationship between genetic testing and the media. Those &ldquowho&rsquos your daddy&rdquo reality TV shows? Biotech companies have formed partnerships with them to market their tests.

People remain fascinated by intimate secrets and the role of science in revealing them: the unsuspecting tester who discovers an unknown sibling the one who discovers that a sperm donor &mdash not her father &mdash is her biological progenitor the countless stories of people whose tests reveal an ethnic or racial identity distinct from the one with which they identify.

In telling these stories, the media continues to influence how we think about these technologies, and how we use them. It advances the tests by teaching the public how they work (with greater accuracy, one hopes, than in the past) and by making them appear ubiquitous and authoritative. Perhaps most importantly, it promotes the idea that they will tell us something not only useful but also surprising and exciting about ourselves. The result is that an estimated 1 in 25 Americans has had their DNA tested. If ancestry tests emerged from the laboratory, it is the media that, over the last hundred years, has made them into the deeply alluring cultural phenomenon that we know today.

Alexander Hamilton’s Adultery and Apology

In the summer of 1791, Alexander Hamilton received a visitor.

Maria Reynolds, a 23-year-old blonde, came to Hamilton’s Philadelphia residence to ask for help. Her husband, James Reynolds, had abandoned her—not that it was a significant loss, for Reynolds had grossly mistreated her before absconding. Hamilton, just 34, was serving as secretary of the United States treasury and was himself a New Yorker she thought he would surely be able to help her return to that city, where she could resettle among friends and relatives.

Hamilton was eager to be of service, but, he recounted later, it was not possible at the moment of her visit, so he arranged to visit her that evening, money in hand.

When he arrived at the Reynolds home, Maria led him into an upstairs bedroom. A conversation followed, at which point Hamilton felt certain that “other than pecuniary consolation would be acceptable” to Maria Reynolds.

And thus began an affair that would put Alexander Hamilton at the front of a long line of American politicians forced to apologize publicly for their private behavior.

Hamilton (whose wife and children were vacationing with relatives in Albany) and Maria Reynolds saw each other regularly throughout the summer and fall of 1791—until James Reynolds returned to the scene and instantly saw the profit potential in the situation. December 15, Hamilton received an urgent note from his mistress:

I have not tim to tell you the cause of my present troubles only that Mr. has rote you this morning and I know not wether you have got the letter or not and he has swore that If you do not answer It or If he dose not se or hear from you to day he will write Mrs. Hamilton he has just Gone oute and I am a Lone I think you had better come here one moment that you May know the Cause then you will the better know how to act Oh my God I feel more for you than myself and wish I had never been born to give you so mutch unhappiness do not rite to him no not a Line but come here soon do not send or leave any thing in his power.

Elizabeth Hamilton, 1787. Museum of the City of New York (Wikimedia Commons)

Two days later, Hamilton received a letter from James Reynolds that accused him of destroying a happy home and proposed a solution:

Its true its in your power to do a great deal for me, but its out of your power to do any thing that will Restore to me my Happiness again for if you should give me all you possess would not do it. god knowes I love the woman and wish every blessing may attend her, you have bin the Cause of Winning her love, and I Dont think I Can be Reconciled to live with Her, when I know I hant her love. now Sir I have Considered on the matter Serously. I have this preposial to make to you. give me the Sum Of thousand dollars and I will leve the town and take my daughter with me and go where my Friend Shant here from me and leve her to Yourself to do for her as you thing proper. I hope you wont think my request is in a view of making Me Satisfaction for the injury done me. for there is nothing that you Can do will compensate for it. 

Rather than leave town (and his new mark), James Reynolds allowed the relationship to continue. A pattern was established in which Maria Reynolds (by this time likely complicit in her husband’s scheme) would write to Hamilton, entreating him to visit when her husband was out of the house:

I have kept my bed those tow days past but find my self mutch better at presant though yet full distreesed and shall till I se you fretting was the Cause of my Illness I thought you had been told to stay away from our house and yesterday with tears I my Eyes I beged Mr. once more to permit your visits and he told upon his honnour that he had not said anything to you and that It was your own fault believe me I scarce knew how to beleeve my senses and if my seturation was insupportable before I heard this It was now more so fear prevents my saing more only that I shal be miserable till I se you and if my dear freend has the Least Esteeme for the unhappy Maria whos greateest fault Is Loveing him he will come as soon as he shall get this and till that time My breast will be the seate of pain and woe

P. S. If you cannot come this Evening to stay just come only for one moment as I shal be Lone Mr. is going to sup with a friend from New York.

After such trysts occurred, James Reynolds would dispatch a request for funds—rather than demand sums comparable to his initial request of $1,000 dollars (which Hamilton paid), he would request $30 or $40, never explicitly mentioning Hamilton’s relationship with Maria but referring often to Hamilton’s promise to be a friend to him.

James Reynolds, who had become increasingly involved in a dubious plan to purchase on the cheap the pension and back-pay claims of Revolutionary War soldiers, found himself on the wrong side of the law in November 1792, and was imprisoned for committing forgery. Naturally, he called upon his old friend Hamilton, but the latter refused to help. Reynolds, enraged, got word to Hamilton’s Republican rivals that he had information of a sort that could bring down the Federalist hero.

James Monroe, accompanied by fellow Congressmen Frederick Muhlenberg and Abraham Venable, visited Reynolds in jail and his wife at their home and heard the tale of Alexander Hamilton, seducer and homewrecker, a cad who had practically ordered Reynolds to share his wife’s favors. What’s more, Reynolds claimed, the speculation scheme in which he’d been implicated also involved the treasury secretary. (Omitted were Reynolds’ regular requests for money from Hamilton.)

Political enemy he might have been, but Hamilton was still a respected government official, and so Monroe and Muhlenberg, in December 1792, approached him with the Reynolds’ story, bearing letters Maria Reynolds claimed he had sent her.

Aware of what being implicated in a nefarious financial plot could do to his career (and the fledgling nation’s economy), Hamilton admitted that he’d had an affair with Maria Reynolds, and that he’d been a fool to allow it (and the extortion) to continue. Satisfied that Hamilton was innocent of any wrongdoing beyond adultery, Monroe and Muhlenberg agreed to keep what they’d learned private. And that, Hamilton thought, was that.

James Monroe had a secret of his own, though.

While he kept Hamilton’s affair from the public, he did make a copy of the letters Maria Reynolds had given him and sent them to Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton’s chief adversary and a man whose own sexual conduct was hardly above reproach. The Republican clerk of the House of Representatives, John Beckley, may also have surreptitiously copied them.

In a 1796 essay, Hamilton (who had ceded his secretaryship of the treasury to Oliver Wolcott in 1795 and was acting as an adviser to Federalist politicians) impugned Jefferson’s private life, writing that the Virginian’s “simplicity and humility afford but a flimsy veil to the internal evidences of aristocratic splendor, sensuality, and epicureanism.” He would get his comeuppance in June 1797, when James Callender’s The History of the United States for 1796 was published.

Callender, a Republican and a proto-muckraker, had become privy to the contents of Hamilton’s letters to Reynolds (Hamilton would blame Monroe and Jefferson, though it is more likely Beckley was the source, though he had left his clerk’s position). Callender’s pamphlet alleged that Hamilton had been guilty of involvement in the speculation scheme and was more licentious than any moral person could imagine. “In the secretary’s bucket of chastity,” Callender asserted, “a drop more or less was not to be perceived.”

Callender’s accusations and his access to materials related to the affair left Hamilton in a tight spot—to deny all the charges would be an easily proven falsehood. The affair with Maria Reynolds could destroy his marriage, not to mention his hard-won social standing (he had married Elizabeth Schuyler, daughter of one of New York’s most prominent families, and a match many thought advantageous to Hamilton). But to be implicated in a financial scandal was, to Hamilton, simply unthinkable. As Secretary of the Treasury, he’d been the architect of early American fiscal policy. To be branded as corrupt would not only end his career, but also threaten the future of the Federalist Party.

Left with few other options, Hamilton decided to confess to his indiscretions with Maria Reynolds and use that confession as proof that on all other fronts, he had nothing to hide. But his admission of guilt would be far more revealing than anyone could have guessed.

Observations on Certain Documents, 1797 (Wikimedia Commons)

Hamilton’s pamphlet Observations on Certain Documents had a simple purpose: in telling his side of the story and offering letters from James and Maria Reynolds for public review, he would argue that he had been the victim of an elaborate scam, and that his only real crime had been an “irregular and indelicate amour.” To do this, Hamilton started from the beginning, recounting his original meeting with Maria Reynolds and the trysts that followed. The pamphlet included revelations sure to humiliate Elizabeth Hamilton—that he and Maria had brought their affair into the Hamilton family home, and that Hamilton had encouraged his wife to remain in Albany so that he could see Maria without explanation.

Letters from Maria to Hamilton were breathless and full of errors (“I once take up the pen to solicit The favor of seing again oh Col hamilton what have I done that you should thus Neglect me”). How would Elizabeth Hamilton react to being betrayed by her husband with such a woman?

Still, Hamilton pressed on in his pamphlet, presenting a series of letters from both Reynoldses that made Hamilton, renowned for his cleverness, seem positively simple. On May 2, 1792, James Reynolds forbade Hamilton from seeing Maria ever again on June 2, Maria wrote to beg Hamilton to return to her a week after that, James Reynolds asked to borrow $300, more than double the amount he usually asked for. (Hamilton obliged.)

Hamilton, for his part, threw himself at the mercy of the reading public:

This confession is not made without a blush. I cannot be the apologist of any vice because the ardor of passion may have made it mine. I can never cease to condemn myself for the pang which it may inflict in a bosom eminently entitled to all my gratitude, fidelity, and love. But that bosom will approve, that, even at so great an expense, I should effectually wipe away a more serious stain from a name which it cherishes with no less elevation than tenderness. The public, too, will, I trust, excuse the confession. The necessity of it to my defence against a more heinous charge could alone have extorted from me so painful an indecorum.

While the airing of his dirty laundry was surely humiliating to Hamilton (and his wife, whom the Aurora, a Republican newspaper, asserted must have been just as wicked to have such a husband), it worked—the blackmail letters from Reynolds dispelled any suggestion of Hamilton’s involvement in the speculation scheme.

Still, Hamilton’s reputation was in tatters. Talk of further political office effectively ceased. He blamed Monroe, whom he halfheartedly tried to bait into challenging him to a duel. (Monroe refused.) This grudge would be carried by Elizabeth Hamilton, who, upon meeting Monroe before his death in  1825 1831, treated him coolly on her late husband’s behalf. She had, by all accounts, forgiven her husband, and would spend the next fifty years trying to undo the damage of Hamilton’s last decade of life.

Hamilton’s fate, of course, is well-known, though in a way the Reynolds affair followed him to his last day. Some time before the publication of his pamphlet, Hamilton’s former mistress Maria Reynolds sued her husband for divorce. The attorney that guided her through that process was Aaron Burr.

How Has Technology Changed Education?

Technology has impacted almost every aspect of life today, and education is no exception. Or is it? In some ways, education seems much the same as it has been for many years. A 14th century illustration by Laurentius de Voltolina depicts a university lecture in medieval Italy. The scene is easily recognizable because of its parallels to the modern day. The teacher lectures from a podium at the front of the room while the students sit in rows and listen. Some of the students have books open in front of them and appear to be following along. A few look bored. Some are talking to their neighbors. One appears to be sleeping. Classrooms today do not look much different, though you might find modern students looking at their laptops, tablets, or smart phones instead of books (though probably open to Facebook). A cynic would say that technology has done nothing to change education.

However, in many ways, technology has profoundly changed education. For one, technology has greatly expanded access to education. In medieval times, books were rare and only an elite few had access to educational opportunities. Individuals had to travel to centers of learning to get an education. Today, massive amounts of information (books, audio, images, videos) are available at one&rsquos fingertips through the Internet, and opportunities for formal learning are available online worldwide through the Khan Academy, MOOCs, podcasts, traditional online degree programs, and more. Access to learning opportunities today is unprecedented in scope thanks to technology.

Opportunities for communication and collaboration have also been expanded by technology. Traditionally, classrooms have been relatively isolated, and collaboration has been limited to other students in the same classroom or building. Today, technology enables forms of communication and collaboration undreamt of in the past. Students in a classroom in the rural U.S., for example, can learn about the Arctic by following the expedition of a team of scientists in the region, read scientists&rsquo blog posting, view photos, e-mail questions to the scientists, and even talk live with the scientists via a videoconference. Students can share what they are learning with students in other classrooms in other states who are tracking the same expedition. Students can collaborate on group projects using technology-based tools such as wikis and Google docs. The walls of the classrooms are no longer a barrier as technology enables new ways of learning, communicating, and working collaboratively.

Technology has also begun to change the roles of teachers and learners. In the traditional classroom, such as what we see depicted in de Voltolina&rsquos illustration, the teacher is the primary source of information, and the learners passively receive it. This model of the teacher as the &ldquosage on the stage&rdquo has been in education for a long time, and it is still very much in evidence today. However, because of the access to information and educational opportunity that technology has enabled, in many classrooms today we see the teacher&rsquos role shifting to the &ldquoguide on the side&rdquo as students take more responsibility for their own learning using technology to gather relevant information. Schools and universities across the country are beginning to redesign learning spaces to enable this new model of education, foster more interaction and small group work, and use technology as an enabler.

Technology is a powerful tool that can support and transform education in many ways, from making it easier for teachers to create instructional materials to enabling new ways for people to learn and work together. With the worldwide reach of the Internet and the ubiquity of smart devices that can connect to it, a new age of anytime anywhere education is dawning. It will be up to instructional designers and educational technologies to make the most of the opportunities provided by technology to change education so that effective and efficient education is available to everyone everywhere.

You can help shape the influence of technology in education with an Online Master of Science in Education in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University Online. This accredited program offers studies in exciting new technologies that are shaping education and offers students the opportunity to take part in the future of innovation.

Learn more about the online MSEd in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University today and help redefine the way in which individuals learn. Call (877) 497-5851 to speak with an admissions advisor or click here to request more information.

Airline collusion: it's nothing new and will be difficult to prove, analysts say

Crowded planes. Pinched seating. Vanishing fare bargains. Extortionate fees. Rising fares across every major airline.

The antitrust cops at the US justice department think they know what’s behind the blight of modern air travel: “Major airlines, in tandem, have raised fares, imposed new and higher fees, and reduced service.”

The government also accused America’s leading airline companies of a preference for “tacit coordination over full-throated competition”.

Except those words did not arrive this week, when documents surfaced indicating a justice department investigation into unlawful coordination by the airlines over pricing and capacity. Those suspicions of collusion came alongside a federal lawsuit almost two years ago, before the merger of American Airlines and USAirways created the world’s largest air carrier and, industry watchers said at the time, ended any hope for a competitive industry that could lower ballooning ticket costs for consumers.

Now, the surviving quartet of US airline giants – American, Delta, United and the discounter Southwest – are coming under increased scrutiny for “unlawful coordination” on price-gouging. But airline insiders and legal analysts say the government’s case against the industry will be near-impossible to prove – indeed, that the feds have known about potential ticket schemes for years and have not been able to fight back against lobbyists fighting to bring the transportation business back from the post-9/11 brink.

“It’s de facto collusion,” said Charles Leocha, president of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy group. “Flights are full, and the airlines have become very good at signaling their strategy” to their not-so-arch rivals, he added.

While the justice department refused to elaborate on the leaked details of its investigation, the airlines did confirm that they have been asked to turn over reams of documents about their discussions on capacity, not just among themselves but with Wall Street analysts who have cheered the airlines’ recent string of profits.

The antitrust division tried to block the American-USAirways deal in 2013, but allowed it to proceed in exchange for concessions such as giving up choice airport slots to competitors like JetBlue. Even with Southwest remaining a discount outlier to American, Delta and United, four major companies now control more than 80% of all air travel out of the domestic United States – and, through their global alliances, wield influence on fares and flights around the world. Fifteen years ago, 10 large airlines carried 90% of domestic traffic.

The competition cops have continued to use the airlines’ own words against them: executives repeating the phrase “capacity discipline” – code for restricting the number of available seats to ticket-buyers – is what renewed attention from critics like Connecticut senator Richard Blumenthal, who compiled a damning list of utterances at a recent summit of global airline chiefs and appears to have accelerated the probe.

But watchdogs say the companies can still get their way on coordinated ticket prices without cutting a trust-busting deal, by keeping the number of seats they offer low – and keeping prices high.

“When there are a small number of competitors, it is easy for them to agree not to compete head to head,” said Christopher Sagers, a professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law who testified at a congressional hearing on the 2013 merger.

In recent years, the average airfare has risen by more than 10%, while capacity slid by nearly 20%. But planes are more full than at any time since the beginning of the jet age, with load factor – or percentage of seats filled – currently averaging 83%, up from 71% in 2000.

But even if the airlines appear to move in lockstep on prices and capacity changes, that does not prove they are conspiring, said Helen Becker, an airline analyst at Cowen and Company.

“Because of technology, everyone has perfect knowledge,” she said. “Airlines know when their competitors change prices.”

Capacity changes usually follow the gross domestic product, she noted: “It’s not rocket science.”

The airlines, meanwhile, deny the accusations of collusion and insist they will fight any potential charges.

“We are confident that the Justice Department will find what we know to be true: our members compete vigorously every day, and the traveling public has been the beneficiary,” the Airlines for America trade group said in a statement.

The lobbyists also said that capacity is at a “post-recession high”, with airlines increasing the number of available seats by 4.6%, or 126,000 per day, during the summer travel period as a result, the group claims, “fares are actually down thus far in 2015”.

Industry defenders point to cumulative losses of $55bn in what they call the “lost decade” after 9/11, when the airlines lurched from crisis to crisis, including a dramatic spike in oil prices and the financial crisis of 2008.

Virtually every major US airline has been in bankruptcy at some point since the 2001 plane hijackings, only turning the corner recently with $22bn in profits over the past five years. American Airlines posted a record profit of $1.2bn in the first quarter of this year, as the last major carrier to go through the post-9/11 wash-and-rinse cycle.

Indeed, airlines have begun to add more flights, which analysts say might be what set off the eyebrow-raising chatter about restoring “discipline” after Wall Street effectively punished airlines for their largesse, pushing down stock prices.

An airline industry under the microscope is not good news for investors, with some pro-airline analysts claiming the feds simply do not understand the business.

Michael Derchin, transportation analyst at CRT Capital, said that even in good times airlines’ profit margins traditionally are razor-thin and that oil prices, now relatively low, could spike at a moment’s notice.


This guidance will help you decide how to check someone’s identity. Some existing identity checking services already follow this guidance.

This guidance was written by Government Digital Service (GDS) with help from organisations across the public and private sectors. Key contributors include:

  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • Home Office
  • Ministry of Defence (MoD)
  • National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC)
  • Barclays
  • Digidentity
  • Experian
  • Post Office

This guidance aligns with these international standards and regulations:

This guidance does not explain the practical ways you can check someone’s identity. You’ll need to decide what tools or processes you want to use based on what’s appropriate for your service. For example, you might decide to accept a passport as evidence of someone’s identity if you know:

  • the users of your service are likely to have a passport
  • staff in your organisation have equipment they need to check the document effectively

One of the ways you can follow this guidance to check someone’s identity is by using GOV.UK Verify in your service.

The 'Check if the claimed identity is at high risk of identity fraud' and 'Check that the identity belongs to the person who’s claiming it' sections have been updated. They now include more guidance about what extra checks you can do if you find a claimed identity that's at high risk of identity fraud or suspected to be a synthetic identity.

The guidance has been split into 2 parts. The identity profiles are now separate from the rest of the guidance to make it easier for users to find the profile they need. New identity profiles have been added to give users more choice in how they combine the different parts of the identity checking process. Some of the 'very high' profiles have been removed as very few organisations or services would actually need that much confidence in someone's identity. The way 'activity' checks are scored has changed. There's no longer a requirement to know if the type of interactions are typical of that person. These checks are also now called 'activity history' checks. Different quality knowledge-based verification (KBV) challenges can now be combined to get a score of 2 for 'verification'. This means there are more ways to use KBV to link a person to a claimed identity.

The guidance has been given a more active title. The 'Get evidence of the claimed identity' section now includes some information about what to do if a piece of evidence contains transposition errors. The 'Check the evidence is genuine or valid' section now explains that digital evidence will always get at least a score of 2. In the same section, the requirements needed for evidence that contains digital information have been updated to take into account things like information found in databases. The guidance about identity profiles has been updated to clarify that you do not need to add up the individual scores within a profile to come up with a total.

The definition of valid has been updated in the 'Check the evidence is genuine or valid' section. Checking a piece of evidence has not expired, cancelled or been reported as lost or stolen used to be things you could do as part of the 'valid' check. These are now listed as separate checks. It's now clearer that you do not need to check if a piece of evidence has been cancelled, lost or stolen to get a score of 2 or 3.

The guidance has been rewritten in plain English so it's easy for both technical and non-technical users to understand. The annexes from the previous version have been removed and the information from them added to the guidance. Examples of how checks can be done have been added throughout the guidance. Information about checking someone's biometric information has been added to the 'Check that the identity belongs to the person who’s claiming it (‘verification’)' section. The 'Identity profiles' section has been expanded. The new identity profiles will make it easier to check the identities of users who do not have much evidence of their identity.

Replaced the old version of Good Practice Guide 45 (version 2.3) with the latest version of the Good Practice Guide 45 (version 3).

Unlawful Access

Every state has wiretapping laws that regulate whether you can be recorded without your knowledge. In many states, you must be aware that your conversation is being electronically captured or the recording is illegal and inadmissible as evidence. If you voluntarily leave a voicemail, you did so knowing that your words were being recorded so wiretapping laws would not apply. An exception exists if the individual who accessed the message had no authority to do so – it wasn’t his phone and he somehow hacked into it. Most courts do not consider text messages to be private communications. When you text something, you cannot reasonably expect that it’s a private communication between you and the person you sent the message to you’re aware, or should be, that anyone else could easily pick up the device and read it. As such, law enforcement does not generally need a search warrant to look at the texts on your cellphone and the evidence may be admissible in court. This is a hotly debated issue, however, and the rules can change at any time, so if you find yourself in this uncomfortable position, consult with an attorney.

Watch the video: How I hacked online dating. Amy Webb