In 2015, Ashley Madison was victim of a massive data breach that made public the extramarital aspirations of almost 37 million people (mostly men). While the hack had significant consequences for the company, they paled in comparison to what its members faced.
Some members, who couldn’t quite face the shame of being exposed in such a public manner, committed suicide. Others lost their jobs. Marriages broke up. There was even a spate of extortions related to the leaked data.
Now, Ashley Madison’s owner, Ruby Corp, wants to put this sordid mess behind itself, and is offering victims of the leak a settlement totaling $11.8 million. Victims who have suffered a ‘valid loss’ will be eligible for a compensation payout of up to $3,500.
In a press release, the company said:
“While ruby denies any wrongdoing, the parties have agreed to the proposed settlement in order to avoid the uncertainty, expense, and inconvenience associated with continued litigation, and believe that the proposed settlement agreement is in the best interest of ruby and its customers. “
Obviously, the sum offered by Ruby Corp won’t last long when spread across the Ashley Madison userbase, which at one point totaled 37 million people.
The Wall Street Journal reckons that a more conservative sum of six million users will be eligible for a payout. If we divide the $11.8 million between six million, you’re looking at just shy of $2 per person.
Sure, you may have lost the love of your life, but at least you can soften the pain with a McDouble.
Even the maximum possible amount — $3,500 — feels woefully inadequate, to the point of being insulting. Ashley Madison’s flimsy security literally ruined lives. There’s no way we can dance around that. People lost their jobs, relationships, and even lives because they dropped the ball.
$3,500, I’m afraid, just won’t cut it.