The Most Open-Minded Dating Site is Set to Pay $11.2 Million
AshleyMadison.com is an adultery site set up as a means to help people cheat on their spouses. The site, which has appealed mainly to men, is known for its slogan: “Life is short. Have an affair”.
As karma would have it, though, a July 2015 data breach exposed the personal information of millions of users looking to utilize its services. Privately held Ruby Corp, once known as Avid Life Media Inc. before re-branding, the parent company responsible for Ashley Madison, denied wrongdoing but agreed to the preliminary class-action settlement.
The website announced it is set to pay $11.2 million in a lawsuit co-counseled by law firms The Driscoll Firm, Dowd & Down and Heninger Garrison Davis claiming the company has historically utilized inadequate data security practices. The hackers, who called themselves the Impact Team, released vital details of users including email addresses and credit card data in an online data dump after being set off by Ruby’s less-than-admirable core values and business practices. According to the lawsuit, even those who paid a required fee to have their accounts set for deletion and all information supposedly removed from cyberspace were exposed.
“If the proposed settlement agreement is approved by the court, Ruby will contribute a total of $11.2 million USD to a settlement fund, which will provide, among other things, payments to settlement class members who submit valid claims for alleged losses resulting from the data breach and alleged misrepresentations as described further in the proposed settlement agreement,” the company said in a statement, adding, “While Ruby denies any wrongdoing, the parties have agreed to the proposed settlement in order to avoid the uncertainty, expense, and inconvenience associated with continued litigation, and believe that the proposed settlement agreement is in the best interest of Ruby and its customers.”
Users with valid, proven claims can recoup up to $3,500 depending on the documentation kept supporting their losses, and attorneys of the users could receive up to one-third of the payout to account for legal fees. The settlement terms require final approval by a St. Louis federal judge.
The lawsuit will cost Ruby more than a fourth of its revenue. The company will also have to dip into the remainder of its profits to fund security improvements to ensure user privacy in the future. Former federal judge Layn Phillips said that the settlement would provide “a valuable recovery for the class in face of many obstacles.”
Evidently, there are still many unhappily wed couples out there desperate to find new mates, as the site’s security breach hasn’t stopped the “most open-minded dating community in the world” from since achieving 54 million customers with additional members added daily. The front of the webpage boasts the following disclaimer: “Discretion matters – We know you value your privacy, and we do too. We will never ask you to log in using a public social network account, and we have several features designed to help you keep your private life private—whatever your reasons.” Perhaps it should consider adding another disclaimer stating it cannot guarantee personal information will always remain under wraps and members should use the site at their own risk.