Australian and Canadian Investigators Condemn Ashley Madison Security

Australian and Canadian Investigators Condemn Ashley Madison Security

August 25, 2016         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Canadian and Australian privacy officials ruled Monday that Ashley Madison had used deceptive and confusing practices to make customers think its service was more secure than it actually was.

Privacy authorities have been investigating the Canadian-based company since last year’s hack, which released the personal information of 36 million users, including names, credit card numbers and sexual fantasies. Even though the website advertised discreet extramarital affairs, the investigators found the company did not meet minimum standards and privacy laws.

The investigators were particularly troubled that the website promoted itself with a fake security award. The website carried a medal icon that read “trusted security award.” Ashley Madison’s parent company, Ruby, later admitted the award was phony and removed it.

Officials were also concerned about the way Ashley Madison stored user data. All information was retained unless a user paid $15 for a full deletion–even if the user had deactivated their account. In both Australia and Canada, it is illegal to store a user’s information indefinitely if their account is deactivated.

On Tuesday, Ruby, formerly known as Avid Life Media, agreed to waive the information deletion fee.

Ruby has also hired a third-party to review its privacy protections, and the company says it plans to introduce new security measures. Despite last year’s breach, Ashley Madison still claims to have 47 million users.

If the company does not comply with the officials’ recommendations, Canadian and Australian courts can intervene.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also investigating Ashley Madison.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 25, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
Featured Low Interest Card
Top Features : 1.25X miles on every purchase; no annual fee; bonus of 20,000 miles once $1,000 is spent in first 3 months
Featured Cash Back Card
Top Features : 1.5% cash back on all purchases; $150 bonus after spending $500 in first 3 months
Featured No Annual Fee Card
Top Features : Earn cash back TWICE. 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay; 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Featured Bad Credit Card
Top Features : Perfect credit not required; Reports to major credit bureaus
Featured Fair Credit Card
Top Features : No annual fee; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time
Featured Limited/No Credit
Top Features : No annual fee; reports to major credit bureaus; access to higher credit line after making first 5 monthly payments on time