Ashley Madison parent settles website users' data breach lawsuit

Gladys Abbott
July 17, 2017

The parent company of adultery website Ashley Madison has agreed to pay $11.2m (£8.55m) to settle a United States class-action lawsuit over the massive July 2015 data breach that saw the personal details, including credit card details, home addresses and email accounts of millions of users from across the globe, published online.

Ashley Madison used the slogan "Life is short".

The data included usernames, first and last names, email addresses, passwords, credit card data, street names, phone numbers and transactions records. It even caused a small number of reported suicides, including that of a priest in Louisiana.

Lawsuits against the company alleged that Ashley Madison used inadequate data security practices and failed to protect user information, a serious issue especially concerning the nature of the service. Avid Life Media and Avid Dating Life have rebranded as Ruby Corp. and Ruby Life, respectively.

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The data breach had cost the company at least a quarter of its revenue, as well as the millions of dollars it had to spend on boosting its privacy and security.

"The parties have agreed to the proposed settlement in order to avoid the uncertainty, expense, and inconvenience associated with continued litigation", said Ruby Life in a statement.

According to Friday's settlement, users with valid claims can recoup up to $3,500 depending on how well they can document their losses attributable to the breach. The website suggests that Ashley Madison has more than 52 million members.

That prior settlement was for $8.75 million, but only required Ashley Madison to pay $1.65 million, with half going to the FTC and the other half to be divided between 13 states - Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Vermont.

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