(Newser) – Silicon Valley parties get an R-17 rating in a new exposé by author Emily Chang. In an excerpt of her book Brotopia in Vanity Fair, Chang writes about the prevalence of parties where sex and drugs (typically Ecstasy) are the norm. Insiders give her the details, and while they speak anonymously, they don't consider their gatherings scandalous. "On the contrary, they speak proudly about how they’re overturning traditions and paradigms in their private lives, just as they do in the technology world they rule," writes Chang. A wide range of such parties exist—some drug- and alcohol-free, some not—but they are generally discreet, invitation-only affairs, and the hosts make sure that female guests outnumber the males. Chang says "household" names are involved, including tech entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.
"These sex parties happen so often among the premier V.C. and founder crowd that this isn’t a scandal or even really a secret, I’ve been told; it’s a lifestyle choice," writes Chang. Guests often show up with their spouses or significant others, given that open relationships are common in Silicon Valley. Chang describes parties that aren't so much wild orgies as people breaking off into groups of twos or threes in private rooms, often after a "sizable cuddle puddle" among the larger group. One troubling aspect is that women who feel uncomfortable attending might be losing out on business opportunities. "They talk business at these parties," says one female entrepreneur who ended up leaving Silicon Valley altogether for New York. “They decide things.” Click for the full story. (Read more Silicon Valley stories.)
Such a cult might help explain something: It’s amazing how often the big tech companies get caught snooping and manipulating, as discussed in regular news media: All Ears: Always-On Listening Devices Could Soon Be Everywhere (Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2019); US regulators have met to discuss imposing a record-setting fine against Facebook for some of its privacy violations (Washington Post, January 18, 2019); If You Care About Privacy, Throw Your Amazon Alexa Devices Into the Sea (Gizmodo, April 24, 2019); Amazon Alexa: Illegally recording kids, privacy advocates allege (Futurism, May 9, 2019); Snapchat Employees Abused Data Access to Spy on Users (Vice, May 23, 2019); My Favorite Facebook Conspiracy Might be True (Medium, May 19, 2019).
Or else they are ridiculously careless with data (Google has stored some passwords in plaintext since 2005, Wired, May 21, 2019) —if carelessness is really what lay behind that. In an age where we are constantly tracked and our data is being sold (yes, even our medical data), that’s like accidentally leaving cash lying around.