Owner Offers $11.2M Compensation Over 2015 Data Leak

The Ashley Madison adultery website will pay $11.2 million to settle a class-action lawsuit filed after the dating site was hacked in July 2015, exposing data of millions of users, its owner said Friday. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of roughly 37 million users, which also included some celebrities.

Ashley Madison is a website dedicated to facilitating affairs between consenting adults, allowing a safe place for those who discretely search for a partner. Its slogan is “Life is short, have an affair.” The data theft leaked users’ email address, names, home addresses, credit card details and sexual fantasies.

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According to the documents, obtained by TMZ, users with valid claims can claim compensation up to $3,500. The amount that will not be claimed would be donated to charity. The proposed preliminary settlement, however, requires the approval of a federal court in the city of St Louis.

Layn Phillips, a former federal judge who mediated the settlement, said in the accord offered “a valuable recovery for the class in the face of many obstacles,” including the company’s preference that victims independently negotiate their claims. He made it clear the victims have to directly get in touch with the company and ask for the settlement.

Last year, Ruby Corp, formerly known as Avid Life Media Inc, agreed to pay $1.66 million to settle a probe by the Federal Trade Commission and several states into “data security and deceptive practices.”​ The massive hack resulted in Ruby losing more than a quarter of its revenue. Following the hack, the owner spent millions of dollars on cyber security.

Some of the big names that were exposed in the data leak included former “19 Kids and Counting” star Josh Duggar, YouTube celebrity Sam Radar, Florida State Attorney Jeff Ashton, Louisiana GOP official Jason Doré, among others.

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Here’s a timeline of the Ashely Madison hack.

  • July 12, 2015: Ashley Madison operations team faced security issues. 
  • July 13, 2015: An Ashley Madison customer service representative finds a message from hackers threatening to release stolen data. 
  • July 15, 2015: Security blogger Brian Krebs breaks the Ashley Madison hack story, saying a group of hackers, known as “The Impact Team,” published approximately 40MB of sensitive data stolen from Avid Life Media (ALM), the company that owns the dating…

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