Some people have made that observation about stolen property. I don't know if there is a distinction between digital information and tangible property or not. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, as the Twitter folks have already mentioned that they've talked to their lawyers about what can be done not just regarding the hacker, but against those who use the info.

It sounds like you and I look at this the same way. My eyes bugged out early in the TechCrunch article, before I even got to the part about publishing the info, when I read the line “We’ve spent most of the evening reading these documents.” At that point I think I would have said, “thanks, but no thanks.”

Even if you want to look at it not from an ethical point of view, but a cold business point of view, you could argue that nothing good ultimately comes from climbing in the mud with dirtbags like this hacker. You're only going to get dirty yourself, and eventually wall yourself off so that nobody deals with you. It might take time, but if this becomes a pattern for TechCrunch, they'll have too many people who cut them out, that they'll have a hard time doing their job.