TORONTO, Aug. 23 (UPI) — Two Canadian law firms have filed a class action lawsuit against cheating website Ashley Madison for the privacy breach involving nearly 40 million members.
The $578 million suit, filed Thursday, acts on behalf of all Canadians who were members of the website and were involved in the hack, which exposed email addresses and other data of 39 million users.
Toronto-based law firms Charney Lawyers and Sutts and Strosberg LLP specifically name Avid Dating Life Inc. and Avid Life Media Inc., corporations that run Ashley Madison as defendants in the suit.
The primary plaintiff in the suit is Canadian resident Eliot Shore.
“Mr. Shore was single again after 30 years of marriage after he lost his wife to breast cancer. He joined the website for a short time in search of companionship but never met anybody in person from the site,” the law firms said in a news release.
The data for millions of Ashley Madison members was hacked last month and nearly 10 gigabytes of data were published last week to the dark web.
Avid Life, based in Toronto, also runs two other dating websites — Cougar Life and Established Men.
“The data breach includes users’ personal names, emails, home addresses and message history. In August 2015, this information was posted online for public viewing,” the law firms said in its statement.
The suit holds Avid Life responsible for failing to protect its members’ privacy.
“In many cases, the users paid an additional fee for the website to remove all of their user data, only to discover that the information was left intact and exposed,” the firms said.
The suit, however, does not target the Impact Team — the hackers group responsible for retrieving and disclosing the privacy data.
“Our investigation is still ongoing and we are simultaneously cooperating fully with law enforcement investigations, including by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, theOntario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Services and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Ashley Madison said in a statement last week.
Several high profile users of Ashley Madison were exposed in the hack — including current and former federal and state government employees, and former reality TV participant and conservative family values advocate Josh Duggar.
Ashley Madison, which features the tagline “Life is Short. Have an Affair,” claims on itsmain webpage, “Over 39,385,000 anonymous members!”