Ashley Madison Still Trying To Abuse The DMCA To Hide Leak

from the cat's-out-the-bag,-folks dept

So just a few hours ago, we were mocking the company behind the “dating site for cheating on your spouse” site Ashley Madison for abusing the DMCA in the false belief it would somehow stop the full leak of the data. And… now that the full leak of data has actually happened, apparently the geniuses at Avid Life Media (said parent company) are still abusing the DCMA to try to get those horses back in the barnyard. From Vice’s Motherboard’s Joseph Cox:

A few hours ago I received a notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) relating to three of my tweets.

?Hello,? the email from Twitter starts. ?The following material has been removed from your account in response to the DMCA takedown notice copied at the bottom of this email.?

The tweet in question had been a “partial screenshot of an apparent floor plan of the Avid Life Media office.” But the company asked for more too:

… the DMCA request also asked for another two to be removed. One was a heavily censored screenshot of a spreadsheet which details the shareholders of the company and the percentile of shares they own. The screenshot did not include any names, figures, or other data, but simply the headers of two columns. Another screenshot showed the column headers of a spreadsheet detailing the company’s bank accounts. No actual bank data was included. Twitter apparently did not remove these two tweets.

It’s worth noting, here, that the DMCA notices were not sent on the leaked customer data, but about things that are at least marginally more closely tied to the company — though it’s still unlikely that Avid Life Media has a legitimate copyright claim in any of them. It’s possible that it holds the copyright in the floor plan, but such a tweet is pretty clearly fair use.

All this should make you wonder why Avid Life Media is running around filing bogus DMCA notices, rather than actually taking care of the damage from this leak?

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Companies: ashley madison, avid life media

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Comments on “Ashley Madison Still Trying To Abuse The DMCA To Hide Leak”

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Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No, no, what they’re doing makes sense. That’s still valuable data, and Avid Life Media will still want to control how it gets monetized. Much like how music distributors can make money licensing songs long after they’re on the file sharing networks, Avid Life can still make money selling their data.

Sure, it’s too late to protect their customers. But this is a company that monetizes people cheating on their spouses, so they probably have the same level of contempt for them as the rest of us.

Which is why they routinely use computer-generated female “profiles” to make it seem that more women use the service than in reality. Why their “guarantee” of success using the service requires that one must buy the most expensive package, send “priority” messages (which are more expensive) to 18 unique members each month for three months, send 5 Ashley Madison gifts per month, and engage in 60 minutes of (paid) chat per month. Why they failed to secure customer data, apparently even the account data of customers who paid money to have their accounts deleted. And of course why they’ve been almost comically dishonest with their customers over the data breach.

But no doubt Avid Life had plans to monetize that data long before the breach. They can’t get a good price for all that valuable customer data if target marketing companies can download it for free and use it without risk. So while the DMCA notices are little more than grandstanding when it comes to the customers, it serves warning that Avid Life Media still considers it their IP. You have to deal with them monetize it.

Anonymous Coward says:

what is happening here by Ashley Madison is surely a real big reason for Congress to get off their wankers and do something about the abortion of a law they passed that has no punishment for when the DMCA is abused? it doesn’t matter what they intended, even if they intended there to be a get out for their friends in the entertainment industries. it should not have been left so virtually can treat it as their own personal ‘get out of jail free card’

Anonymous Coward says:

At this point it’s not like trying to get the horses back into the barnyard. It’s like the entire farm is on firein the middle of a drought, and they’re trying to extinguish it by pissing on it while they’re dehydrated. The hackers got basically everything. We’re talking that for the level of access demonstrated by released data, they might as well set every electronic device associated with the company on fire and start from scratch. That’s the only way for them to be sure some backdoor malware wasn’t left behind.

sehlat (profile) says:

Why Avid Life Media is running around filing bogus DMCA notices?

Because there’s nothing else they CAN do.

The data is out, freely available to world+dog, and dealing with the damage is pretty much like trying to stop a tsunami by throwing spitballs at it.

If anything, the Streisand Effects from the bogus notices will make the damage worse, but try and tell that to a bunch of panicked non-technical executives who are watching their lives circling the drain.

tqk (profile) says:

Making popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn!

This is turning into a perfect storm of DMCA abuse plus schaudenfreud plus corporate IT incompetence & fraud. Take a bunch of jerks welshing on their marriage contracts and insisting it’s okay because morals and ethics are so passe that *everyone’s* doing it these days, fold in Feminazis (“Why aren’t they complaining about the “Cougars” board too?!? Obviously the hackers are feminists!”), and holy crap, what a show they’ve produced. And, it’s a Canadian op! Californian, Las Vegas, or New York maybe, but Canadian?!? How’d that happen?

If that’s not enough, their IT is so crappy that someone was even able to open an account under the name Tony Blair! The divorce lawyers can’t even use this to get rich off of it, they are so bad!

Those crazy Canucks! 🙂

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Making popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn!

“Take a bunch of jerks welshing on their marriage contracts”

The other aspect of this is that a large number of people using Ashely Madison are not cheating at all, but are swingers. In all of the condemnation of AM’s users and all of the “haha, they deserved it” that I’ve been reading, there is too little recognition that a lot of perfectly innocent people were harmed as well.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Making popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn!

… there is too little recognition that a lot of perfectly innocent people were harmed as well.

Well like I said, ALM’s IT is such shit, “harmed” is really overstating it. There is no evidentiary value in their data. If anyone confronts anyone with having found their name in that db, they’re more than justified in just blowing it off or lying their heads off about it. “Never even heard of Ashley Madison and I’ve never been there. End of story, prove me wrong, you can’t.”

Klaus says:

Re: Making popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn!

“…If that’s not enough, their IT is so crappy that someone was even able to open an account under the name Tony Blair!”

I’m not convinced that it wasn’t Tony Blair. John Major, another Uk ex-Prime Minister astounded everyone when it became public knowledge he had been banging Edwina Currie on the sly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Deal with it!

Not with a DMCA but own your screw up. They did what imho most companies do: hire cheap IT techs and they got hacked. HUGE surprise!

The one thing they can do at this point is well… not much because they screwed up! Just a free advice:
Do NOT safe any important data in clear text. Yes it will cost a bit more to en/decrypt the data each time but when you are in a business that might cost people millions because of divorces caused by things that happened on your site then the money is a good investment. Not to speak of the possible sh** that might be caused by all of those .gov accounts.

If you watch the John Oliver – House of Lords video you can imagine what others might have done…

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