Many of you may now be familiar with the name of Ashley Madison with the recent widespread coverage in the media however for those who are unacquainted, it is an infamous dating website that carries the tagline “life is short, have an affair”. Recently, the names, addresses, partial credit card numbers and email addresses of many of Ashley Madison’s 39 million users were released online by a group of hackers who call themselves ‘The Impact Team’. However, this data was swiped a month ago from Ashley Madison’s servers after the hackers threatened to publish personal information on the cheating spouses who use the service unless parent company Avid Life Media took down the site and its sister enterprise Established Men.
Only hours after the information was released to the dark web, accessible only through special anonymous browsing software, law firms experienced a surge in calls from potential clients at the centre of the hacking scandal. Family lawyers could be hit with an influx in clients as every inquisitive spouse will want to check to see if their spouse is present on the list. Despite the fact that these are predictions from American lawyers, a similar situation is on the rise within Australia. Almost 800 Australian government and police workers were revealed as Ashley Madison users, with Melbourne and Sydney possessing the highest number of customers of the dating service website. Most Australian Ashley Madison users have used their work emails which has not only compromised their identity, but also their employers.
However, the situation is currently worsening for the online dating website Ashley Madison, with its parent company Avid Life Media now confronting a $US578 million class-action lawsuit from its North American-based users. Law firms Cherney Lawyers and Sutts, Strogsberg LLP, have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Canadians who had their personal data released to the global internet community. The lawsuit was filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, nevertheless still needs to be certified by the court for it to proceed any further. On another note, Missouri lawyers have launched a class-action suit in the United States district court for more than $US5 million in damages. Both lawsuits detail that the privacy of the dating service members was contravened when hackers infiltrated Ashley Madison’s website and retrieved all the private information and published it online.
If you are concerned about your privacy rights under Australian law then give us a call on 8917 8700 or alternatively fill out the inquiry box detailing your issue and we will ensure to get back to you as soon as possible.