Canadian lawsuit seeks $578M over dump of hacked info from Ashley Madison dating site

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Two Canadian law firms filed a class action lawsuit in Windsor, Ontario, on Thursday over a much-publicized data dump this week by unknown hackers of information about users of the Ashley Madison dating site.

Although a disabled widower is currently the only named plaintiff, attorney Ted Charney of Charney Lawyers, one of the firms that filed the suit, estimates damages could reach 760 million in Canadian dollars if it is certified as a class action, the Toronto Star reports. That amounts to about $578 million in U.S. dollars, at the current exchange rate.

The hackers aren’t named as defendants, but the Toronto-based operators of the self-proclaimed “discreet” dating site are. The site is aimed at individuals who are interested in having an affair.

“The subscribers were purchasing a service from Ashley Madison, and the main ingredient of the service was confidentiality and anonymity in using the website. That is the way Ashley Madison sold the product,” Charney told the Star. “If they were not able to protect people and maintain their confidentiality,” he said of the defendants, “then in our opinion, they are liable for the privacy breach.”

Ashley Madison did not immediately respond to the Star’s request for comment, but parent company Avid Life Media Inc. earlier condemned the theft and revelation of subscribers’ personal information as criminal acts. Avid Dating Life Inc. is also named as a defendant.

An initial data dump Tuesday was dwarfed by a second data dump Thursday, the newspaper says.

The Associated Press, the Calgary Herald and Fox News also have stories.

Related coverage “Divorce lawyers expect surge in clients after hackers dump data from Ashley Madison dating site”

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