ST. LOUIS — Internet dating website Ashley Madison, which focused on facilitating discreet extramarital affairs, has agreed to a settlement of $11.2 million following a lawsuit filed in 2015 after many members had their personal information leaked online.
The settlement for the class-action suit is currently awaiting a final approval hearing, which is scheduled for November 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.
A 9.7 gigabyte data dump was leaked by hackers online in August 2015, providing account and login information for nearly 32 million users. The hack made national headlines spurring websites to write instructional articles on how to search for loved ones and acquaintances within the data released.
The plaintiffs allege that Ashley Madison and its parent companies, Ruby Corp. and Ruby Lifeline Inc., did not provide proper security measures to consumers that aligned with the confidentiality that members had been promised.
Credit card information for many of the users was included in the information dump, negating any hope of anonymity even if members had provided false information when signing up.
Additionally, the hacked information, which dates back to 2008, includes descriptions for what each user looked to gain from the website, often citing that they were looking for “bored” individuals.
The settlement was agreed upon by Ruby without acceptance of wrongdoing, but rather an understanding that a lengthy and uncertain court battle would make for an inconvenient and costly endeavor.
Though disseminating notice of the settlement is typically done via mail, the court ruled that a publication campaign to disseminate notice via Sports Illustrated and People Magazine as well as digital banner ads "is the best method of notice practicable under the circumstances" given the nature of the website.