Tim Smith discusses the impact of the Ashley Madison data leak

20 Aug 2015

BLM partner Tim Smith has commented on the possible legal and litigation implications that could arise following the data leak at Ashley Madison:

“Ashley Madison could face regulatory action from the Information Commissioner following this breach. They have a legal obligation to take “appropriate measures” to prevent breaches of this type and if the Commissioner feels that they have failed to do so they may face action. This could include a fine of up to £0.5m if they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent such a breach. They also face the possibility of civil claims from subscribers who may wish to hold them to account for any promises they made with regards to anonymity and data protection. If it transpires that the company didn’t take appropriate steps to secure this information – or that they have been storing data for longer than they needed to – it could lead to a civil lawsuit.

“Although no system is infallible, with a data leak of this size in relation to such sensitive information it may be difficult for Ashley Madison to persuade a court that they took all the steps they should have done to secure their sensitive corporate and customer data.”

Tim’s comments have been published in both The Financial Times (subscription required) and The Daily Mail.


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Disclaimer: This document does not present a complete or comprehensive statement of the law, nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight issues that may be of interest to customers of BLM. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in any particular case.

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