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Ashley Madison hacked, personal information leaked

Mr. Ambien

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Heads are starting to roll ... beginning with founder.

It may be a PR play. We don't know the ownership structure of the company. From reading this article there isn't a "Board of Directors", so he may be the sole or majority owner of the company, in which case the position of CEO really doesn't matter much.

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The man who founded AshleyMadison.com, the marital cheating site at the center of a massive privacy breach, has stepped down as chief executive of the company that owns it.

Noel Biderman has agreed to vacate the helm of Avid Life Media Inc. (ALM) "and is no longer with the company," according to a statement released Friday by ALM.

"This change is in the best interest of the company and allows us to continue to provide support to our members and dedicated employees. We are steadfast in our commitment to our customer base," ALM said. The company is "actively adjusting to the attack on our business and members' privacy by criminals," it added, and the website is still operational.

The company and its roughly 39 million users have been reeling ever since hackers calling themselves the Impact Team dumped reams of personal data, including partial credit card numbers, email addresses, and sexual preferences, onto the worldwide web. The hackers said that they targeted Ashley Madison for its questionable privacy and business practices, in particular a claim by the company that users could delete their information for a $19 fee.

Related: Ashley Madison Targeted by Class-Action Lawsuit in Canada

Toronto police leading an international team to hunt the culprits, and announced two unconfirmed reports of suicides related to the privacy leak on Monday. While appealing to other hackers for help in the case, authorities have warned that extortionists and scam artists are looking to exploit the controversy.

Similar to Sony following its hack, ALM has been using American copyright law to try to get platforms like Twitter and Reddit to stop disseminating the embarrassing and potentially damaging information of its customers.

Mitch Stoltz, a senior lawyer of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote that the company's attempts to use the Digital Millennium Copyright Act "to put the genie back in the bottle are misguided, and in some cases, may violate the DMCA itself." For one thing, ALM probably doesn't have the copyright on much of the material in question.

"Biographical descriptions or pickup lines written by users can be copyrightable, but the copyright belongs to the users, not the site owners," he wrote.

Related: Ashley Madison Sent Me a DMCA Request for Tweeting 2 Cells of a Spreadsheet

Biderman has been the unabashed face of the Toronto-based Ashley Madison website for years, speaking openly about the realities of infidelity and defending a business model that capitalizes on its slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair."

He has also been personally affected by the leak: the married father of two always said he never cheated on his wife, but this week BuzzFeed detailed emails that suggested he might have had multiple affairs.

"Infidelity is part of the landscape," Biderman told the New York Daily News last year while promoting his book Adultropology. "If we removed every unfaithful man from public office, from CEO positions, from the basketball courts, we'd have a very dull society. You wouldn't be able to fill a football team, run a government or have a corporation that can function.... So let's stop trying to paint these people as villains."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Chicago (AFP) - A US pastor committed suicide six days after his name was exposed by hackers of the Ashley Madison adultery website, his wife told CNN Wednesday.

Canadian police have said that at least two suicides were linked to the leak of 32 million customer profiles from the Canada-based site last month. It's not clear if John Gibson's death was one of them as police released no details.

Christi Gibson discovered her husband's body -- and a suicide note which chronicled his demons and his shame at being exposed -- in their New Orleans home on August 24.

"He talked about depression. He talked about having his name on there, and he said he was just very, very sorry," Gibson said as their adult son and daughter sat next to her in a New Orleans studio.

"Nothing is worth the loss of a father and a husband and a friend. It just didn't merit it. It didn't merit it at all."

In addition to his work as a pastor, Gibson, 56, taught at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Gibson said her husband, who had struggled with depression and addiction in the past, was worried that he would lose his job.

"It wasn't so bad that we wouldn't have forgiven it, and so many people have said that to us, but for John, it carried such a shame," she told CNN.

"What we know about him is that he poured his life into other people, and he offered grace and mercy and forgiveness to everyone else, but somehow he couldn't extend that to himself."

- 'Have an affair' -

Ashley Madison, launched in 2001, is known for its slogan: "Life is short. Have an affair." It helps connect people seeking to have extramarital relationships and is owned by Avid Life Media.

According to authorities, the company became aware of the hack on July 12 when staff were greeted in the morning with a message on their computers threatening to leak client information unless the Ashley Madison website was "shut down immediately, permanently."

The message was accompanied by rockers AC/DC's song "Thunderstruck."

Ashley Madison ran into more trouble when tech news site Gizmodo looked at the leaked data and concluded that it showed little if any activity from the site's purported female members, suggesting many accounts were in fact fake.

Avid Life Media rejected the analysis and said the site has registered hundreds of thousands of new members -- including real women -- in the wake of the hack, which has garnered massive media attention.

Tributes to Gibson poured in from students and faculty who remembered him as a kind, generous man who would repair student's vehicles in his spare time.

"John was a popular member of our Leavell College faculty," seminary president Chuck Kelley said in an obituary posted on the school's blog.

"He was particularly known for his acts of kindness to the seminary family. John was the quintessential good neighbor."

His son alluded to Gibson's troubles at an August 28 memorial service.

"My dad was a great man. He was a great man with struggles. Everyone has struggles. Everyone is broken," Trey Gibson said in a video of the service posted online.

Students and former classmates took to the seminary's Facebook page to mourn his loss.

"Amazing man and teacher. I do not hold anything against you, Dr. Gibson. We all have shortcomings," wrote Robbie Combs.

"Hoping the very grace and mercy and forgiveness he taught of with such vigor will comfort his family and all who knew him," wrote Dore Atwill Kesterson.

Gibson, whose wife Christi is also a minister, comes from a long line of Baptist ministers.

He was pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Pearlington, Mississippi -- about a 45 minute drive from his home on the seminary grounds.

He obtained a doctorate of theology from the seminary and was elected to the faculty in 1998, the obituary said.


Sounds like the pastor was in good company.. "he was a good man". Yes. A good man who, rather than deal with the humiliation of what he did, instead insulted his own "god" and killed himself because he got caught trying to commit adultery.


Sounds like he was surrounded by a lot of other idiots.

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