Ashley Madison Continues To Use Dubious Legal Takedown Threats To Try To Disappear The Data It Failed To Protect
from the not-a-good-idea dept
We’ve written a few times now about how the parent company of Ashley Madison, Avid Life Media, has been committing perjury and issuing completely bogus copyright demands to try to hide the information that was leaked after its servers got hacked. Last month, that tactic (despite not complying with the law) apparently worked briefly, until the full data dump happened last week. But that hasn’t stopped the company from continuing to try. EFF wrote a long blog post detailing how this was a clear abuse of the law, but Avid Life Media doesn’t seem to care.
After the leak came out, a few sites sprung up quickly to help people search the database. Whether or not you think it’s appropriate to set up such a site (or to use it) is a separate issue, but what hopefully everyone can agree on is that such a site should not be taken down for copyright reasons. There were two main sites that got the bulk of attention for setting up such a database, and one has already shut down and the other has received a takedown demand (though not a copyright one). I won’t link to either site, but here’s what’s now posted on one of the sites:
Our firm is counsel to Avid Life Media, Inc. (?ALM?) with respect to its intellectual property and data privacy matters. As you may know, ALM is the parent company of the online dating and social networking service Ashley Madison. Because users entrust ALM with highly sensitive and intimate details (collectively the ?Ashley Madison User Data?), the privacy of ALM?s users is of utmost importance. As a result, ALM proactively and arduously regulates any authorized (and unauthorized) use of Ashley Madison User Data.
This letter is to inform CloudFlare, Inc., and all related entities (collectively, ?You?) that, upon information and belief, CloudFlare, Inc.?s client (?Your Client?), has posted a searchable database of the Ashley Madison User Data to a website hosted on a domain name hosted by You. Specifically, Your Client has posted the Ashley Madison User Data at the following URL: https://ashley.cynic.al/ (the ?URL?). Your Client?s publication of the Ashley Madison User Data may constitute illegal disclosure of private personal information, and potentially expose millions of individuals around the world to identity theft.
Please note that this letter is made without prejudice to any other rights or remedies that may be available to ALM. Nothing contained herein should be deemed a waiver, admission, or license by ALM, and ALM expressly reserves the right to assert any other factual or legal positions as additional facts come to light or as the circumstances warrant.
CloudFlare, in response, told the guy that it had forwarded the name of the actual hosting provider (a non-US company) to the lawyers at DLA Piper, and at last check, the guy claims that his hosting company, ColoCall out of Ukraine, has not done anything about it. That may change, but it’s not clear what legal basis ALM has for the demand. It’s nice to see that ALM is no longer making totally bullshit copyright claims, but these weird “privacy and personal data rights” claims don’t have much legal basis either.