Ashley Madison sued for emotional duress

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A man named as John Doe is suing infidelity website Ashley Madison for emotional duress, claiming that the company failed to adequately protect its clients’ personal information.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles, seeks class-action status.

{mosads}Doe accuses Ashley Madison and parent company Avid Life Media Inc. of negligence and invasion of privacy in addition to causing emotional distress. The suit seeks unspecified damages.

Hackers released a huge cache of stolen personal information from the extramarital dating site last week. The data included credit card information, email addresses and other sensitive information.

Reports of the impact of the data dump on victims are beginning to trickle in. On Monday, Toronto Police acting staff superintendent Bryce Evans alluded to two unconfirmed suicides in connection with the leak, as well as possible “hate crimes.”

The suit alleges that Ashley Madison and Avid Life Media failed to take “necessary and reasonable precautions to protect its users’ information, by, for example, encrypting the data.”

Companies that suffer a hack are increasingly facing liability for their cybersecurity shortcomings, not only from breach victims but also from the Federal Trade Commission.

On Monday, a federal appeals court ruled unanimously that the FTC can go forward with a lawsuit alleging that the hacked Wyndham Worldwide Corp. did not do enough to safeguard its customers’ personal data.

The agency accuses the hotel chain of housing unencrypted data, using easy-to-use passwords and storing credit card information in plain text — actions it says flouted Wyndham’s privacy policy, which claims the company takes “commercially reasonable efforts” to protect customer data.

Avid Life Media is already the target of another class-action suit filed in Canada last week. Plaintiffs seek $760 million in damages.

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