#CyberFLASH: Ashley Madison’s charge for ‘full delete’ of data completely unethical, critics say

cpt104287884.jpg.size.original.promoPrivacy experts are peeved that AshleyMadison.com, a site that helped people commit adultery, charged its customers to do a “full delete” of their incriminating data.

The Toronto-based website, which boasts of being “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters,” was hacked on Sunday, potentially exposing the dirty deeds of 37 million customers.

The hackers allegedly responsible for the breach, who go by the name “The Impact Team,” have already released the details of two alleged users, one whom they claim is from Mississauga, and have threatened to release everything, unless parent company Avid Life Media shuts down AshleyMadison.com and another site, EstablishedMen.com.

The breach, which was first reported by cybercrime journalist Brian Krebs, was allegedly carried out as retribution for the company’s practice of holding onto customer data even after charging customers $19 for a “full delete” of their account.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” the hacking group wrote in an online forum.

Avid Life Media, which called the hack an act of cyber terrorism, vehemently denies that they kept customer information.

“Contrary to current media reports, and based on accusations posted online by a cyber criminal, the “paid-delete” option offered by AshleyMadison.com does in fact remove all information related to a member’s profile and communications activity,” the company said in a statement at the time of the hack.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has been in contact with Avid Life, to understand how the breach occurred and what steps are being done to mitigate the damage, said spokesperson Valerie Lawton.

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