Ashley Madison users suing the adultery site over its huge data breach last year are now required to use their real names in court, a US judge has ruled.
The sophisticated hack, which took place last July, saw the confidential information of all the Toronto-based site’s 37m users dumped on the Dark Web by hacking group The Impact Team.
The leaked data included the names, email addresses and personal information of the site’s members, which have now been used by criminals to send blackmail letters to users, threatening to expose their membership to their families.
And following the breach, 42 users whose personal data was leaked filed lawsuits against the infidelity site, opting to use pseudonyms throughout the case to lower the risk of “potentially catastrophic personal and professional consequences that could befall them and their families”.
However on 6th April, Missouri federal court Judge John Ross ruled against the claimants, after finding that there were no “rare and exceptional circumstances” to justify the use of pseudonyms during the case.
The site also argued that a number of plaintiffs suing Ashley Madison have already filed suits under their real names, which the judge said further weakens their argument for confidentiality.
The plaintiffs now have until 3rd June to confirm whether they still want to pursue the suit against the site’s parent company, Avid Life Media, using their real names.
Read more about the hack here.