After a heap of customer information from infidelity dating website Ashley Madison was leaked on the internet last week, the company is facing a huge class-action lawsuit from disgruntled users.
Two Canadian firms – Charney Lawyers and Sutts, Strosberg LLP – are bringing the action against site owners Avid Dating Life and Avid Media, to the tune of C$760 million ($576m/£367m). They said they were acting on behalf on “all Canadians” affected.
Hackers, known as the Impact Team, stole the data last month – including users’ names, email addresses, home addresses and message history.
The group attacked the website in an effort to close it down as punishment for collecting a fee without actually deleting users’ data. At the time, the hackers threatened to reveal the information unless the site was taken down and they made good on that promise last week, releasing the info on the so-called ‘Dark Web’.
In a joint statement, the two law firms said:
Numerous former users of AshleyMadison.com have approached the law firms to inquire about their privacy rights under Canadian law. They are outraged that AshleyMadison.com failed to protect its users’ information. In many cases, the users paid an additional fee for the website to remove all of their user data, only to discover that the information was left intact and exposed.
The law firms have made it clear they are bringing the lawsuit against the company, and not the hackers.
The lawsuit appears to have been initiated by a Canadian widower. Disabled Ottowan Eliot Shore had his personal details leaked, but says he only joined the site for a short time after his wife passed away, claims he never cheat on anyone and did not meet any other site members.
Ashley Madison says it operates in more than 50 countries and has over 37 million users, so Avid can expect a good number of them to come from Canada. Things are going from bad to worse for the company!