FTC Wins Award for AshleyMadison.com Investigation

The US Federal Trade Commission, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada have shared an award for global data protection in the wake of the 2015 AshleyMadison.com breach.

The ‘Chair’s Grand Award for Innovation’ was presented at the International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC) in Hong Kong on Tuesday. The conference represents 119 different data protection agencies.

Chair John Edwards said the synchronised investigations were “a model on how to achieve cross-border cooperation in privacy enforcement.”

The dating platform was charged with “deceiving consumers and failing to protect customer information in 36 million users’ accounts”, and was required to “implement a comprehensive data-security program and pay a total of $1.6 million to settle FTC and state actions”, the FTC press release states.

It was also required to reach separate settlements with the Australian and Canadian authorities.

Since the settlement, AshleyMadison.com has continued to operate successfully, and the platform has taken steps to implement a new set of best practices.

There is a 2,300 word privacy policy live on the company’s website, which begins by outlining a firm commitment to the privacy of AshleyMadison.com users.

There is also a section of the website dedicated to the aftermath of the hack. It features an extensive breakdown of the nature of the case against AshleyMadison.com, a full timeline of events, and security tips for users.

It states that: “After the hack, Ashley Madison revamped and reimagined its security program, reviewing millions of lines of Ashley Madison code, enhancing its (internal and external facing) security infrastructure and teaming with world leading security experts to craft a continuous security monitoring program of Ashley security updates and post-hack privacy enhancements.

“In August 2016, Ashley Madison updated its website with security and privacy information to help users protect their privacy and safeguard their personal information.”

Details of the AshleyMadison.com-FTC settlement can be found here.