Ashley Madison is a website that encourages married couples to have affairs. It has over 30 million registered users and has created global chaos after hackers released the names of its users.
How did this all start? The story is rather simple. Some users who now identify themselves as the “Impact team” wanted their information removed from the website. Ashley Madison required a fee to have the information removed. Despite paying the fee, users’ profiles remained intact.
Unfortunately for Ashley Madison, these individuals were hackers who then threatened to release all user profiles to the public. In spite of the hackers’ threats, Ashley Madison did not pay the hackers their desired amount of money to protect Ashley Madison users. The hackers eventually released the names of some users and then all the users which resulted in chaos. As you can imagine, this resulted in a complicated web of legal issues.
There were over 36 million users profiles exposed online for the public to view which included: the users’ personal names, emails, homes addresses and message history. Josh Duggar (star of 19 kids and counting) was one of the individuals exposed for having an account on the Ashley Madison website. There are hundreds of emails addresses and data releases that are connected to municipal, provincial, federal workers, RCMP and military personnel. Furthermore, some of the credit-card transactions have been linked to the House of Commons and department of national defense. Radio stations are having individuals call in and “check” if their spouses were found on the list and the answers are revealed live on the radio.
Not Fun and Games
The Toronto Police Department have issued a warning to the hackers informing them that this is not fun and games as two individuals have committed suicide since the release of their information. Users are arguing that their personal information is being illegally exposed and their right to privacy is also being infringed. However, Canadian Ashley Madison users have a knight in shining armour; his name is Eliot Shore, an Ottawa widower.
Knight in shining armour
Mr. Shore had lost his wife to breast cancer a few years back and was looking for companionship on Ashley Madison. Mr. Shore argues that he never met anyone on the website and never cheated on his wife. He is suing Ashley Madison, not the hackers. He believes Ashley Madison should have protected his information and not asked for personal information that they could not secure. This class action also involves individuals who had paid to have their information deleted from the database on multiple occasions while the website kept their information intact on the database.
How much is Ashley Madison being sued for? $750 million in general damages and $10 million in punitive damages. General damages include suffering which cannot be equated to a fiscal amount and rewarded due to a breach of a contract or violation of the plaintiff’s rights i.e. pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Punitive damages are used to deter parties from breaching future contracts for instance the blameworthiness of the defendant for the contract breach and the vulnerability of the plaintiff.
The class action is being handled by law firms Charney Lawyers and Sutts, Strosberg LLP. Divorce Attorneys are expecting Christmas to come early this year, as they are expecting countless divorce cases to come their way in early September.
Regardless of the moral stand on cheating, users have had their right to privacy infringed. They have also had their right to have their personal information secured online infringed
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Did you know that as economic equality increases between men and women, both sexes are equally as likely to cheat? Has it become socially acceptable to have an affair? I’d love to hear your thoughts.