Ashley Madison, a dating website that marketed itself as enabling extramarital affairs, has agreed to pay out $11m in damages to US-based users in order to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging that it misrepresented the level of security it could provide.
Covert members of the controversial dating website were left aghast two years ago when hackers walked off with confidential customer details after breaching the website’s security.
During the ensuing fallout, which saw chief executive Noel Biderman step down, a group of those affected launched a legal bid to seek redress from parent company Ruby Life over ‘inadequate data security practices’, culminating in today’s multi-million dollar payout.
Under the settlement agreement affected individuals behind the lawsuit who submit ‘valid claims for alleged losses’ arising from that breach will be compensated. Despite this Ruby Life is maintaining that it has done nothing wrong, standing by the line that "merely because a person’s name or other information appears to have been released in the data breach does not mean that person actually was a member of Ashley Madison".
Plaintiffs contended that they were lulled into a false sense of security by ‘misrepresentations’ from Ashley Madison, which told them their personal information was secure. Some had paid a fee to have their details deleted only to find them propagated online after the hack.
Ashley Madison is currently being investigated over claims it built a ‘fembot army’ to dupe male members into believing there were large numbers of women using the site.