Ashley Madison Users Now Free to Come and Go
Perhaps in an effort at damage control as regards their core audience, Ashley Madison today announced that there will no longer be a “Full Delete Fee.”
This fee of $20 was alluded to by the Impact Team, who recently captured the adultery-facilitating website’s entire database and said in no uncertain terms that the company had two choices: shut down or all 37+ million members’ data will be made public information. Such information would include sexual fantasies, compromising photos, and private messages.
The fee was an example of the kind of carnival tactics you see from the entire vice industry. While it is not quite blackmail since everyone was treated the same, the fee accomplished the same purpose: pay money or your data may find its way into the wrong hands.
The company has said over and over that privacy and security are near the core of their business model, but as the hackers have illuminated, even retaining the credit card information used to cancel an account could be problematic for some. Impact Team are still holding the database hostage at the moment, but it’s important to note that Avid Life Media, the parent company of Ashley Madison, has another dating website that the hackers have not mentioned at all: CougarLife.
CougarLife is unique in terms of the three websites in that it does not exactly promote infidelity, no more than a normal dating website. CougarLife instead centers on older women finding younger men to satisfy their needs. If Avid Life Media were to comply with the demands of Impact Team, it seems they’d still have the revenue from CougarLife to stay afloat.
But thus far the company has made no indication of capitulating to the demands of Impact Team. Rather, Noel Biderman told Brian Krebs the other day that the hackers were sloppy, and they’re going to catch them. Then today Ashley Madison removes the requirement to pay to delete the account. The move solves the problem of leaving a financial record of account closure.
Images from Shutterstock and Avid Life Media.