Ashley Madison users looking to sue the company for failing to hold onto their personal data in a wide sweeping cyber attack affecting millions will not be afforded anonymity in the court case.
The site facilitates extramarital affairs and back in July 2015 personal information that could be used to identify some 30 million users on the service was leaked in a cyber-attack and blackmail scandal.
Many affairs facilitated on the supposedly discrete service were outed.
42 plaintiffs are now suing the company owned by Avid Dating Life. They however requested anonymity in the court to avoid being identified as users of the site.
Their legal papers argued the push to be known as John Does was to “reduce the risk of potentially catastrophic personal and professional consequences that could befall them and their families.”
Federal judge John A Ross of Missouri denied the plaintiffs anonymity arguing that there was sufficient data already available in the public domain to possibly identify them.
He said: “The personal and financial information plaintiffs seek to protect has already been released on the Internet and made available to the public.”
Judge Ross added that the accounts “do not constitute information of the utmost intimacy” that would see anonymity granted in sensitive cases such as those involving rape and child abuse.