Avid Life Media Inc. and Avid Dating Life Inc. are named as defendants in a national class-action lawsuit. These two companies are responsible for running AshleyMadison.com. The plaintiff in this case is a disabled widower and Ottawa resident who joined the site after his wife died of breast cancer. According to the two law firms that are representing the plaintiff, the man did not meet anyone in person after he joined the site.
AshleyMadison.com said that email addresses used for signing up aren’t verified and that complete credit card numbers are not stored. Because email addresses are verified, no one person can be linked conclusively to an account, according to a company official. More than 35 million registered users’ information has been leaked by a hacking collective known as the Impact Team.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Toronto Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police are investigating the breach of information. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the breach in the United States. A cyber-security company in Toronto is involved in the investigation for Ashley Madison.
It appears there were hundreds of email addresses released that are connected to municipal, provincial and federal employees. The military and RCMP have also been connected. According to provincial employees, a civil servant who set up an Ashley Madison account with his or her work email would have misused government IT resources. The attorney general for Ontario said that “information and technology officials are looking into whether any misuse has occurred.”
Class action lawsuits are often filed against large corporations when there are many possible plaintiffs. This helps those plaintiffs by not requiring a massive amount of money from a single person to battle such a case out in court. Settlements are also common and the defendants most likely will not have to admit fault.
Source: CBC, “Ashley Madison hack: National lawsuit filed against parent company,” Aug. 20, 2015