Australian Privacy Commissioner investigates Ashley Madison hack

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Australian Privacy Commissioner investigates Ashley Madison hack

Partners with Canada following second data dump.

Australia's Privacy Commissioner has opened an investigation into the breach of infidelity website Ashley Madison after hackers exposed the profiles of as many as 37 million customers.

The Canadian owner of Ashley Madison, Life Media, has been co-operating with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner since the office began making inquiries following the initial attack in July, the OAIC said.

The OAIC's investigation will centre on whether Avid Life Media met its obligations under the Australian Privacy Act to take reasonable steps to ensure the security of its customers' personal information.

"All individuals have the right to expect that their personal information will be managed in accordance with the Privacy Act," the OAIC said in a statement.

"The OAIC will publish a further statement at the conclusion of its investigation, outlining its findings."

Just last week the Ashley Madison hackers released a second 20GB trove of data stolen from Avid Life Media - double the size of an earlier dump - which included information such as emails linked to the company's founder Noel Biderman, source code for the website and internal data.

The earlier data dump exposed the email addresses of millions of Ashley Madison customers, which included addresses from government officials in Australia, the US and UK.

The initial leak also exposed details such as users’ height, weight and GPS coordinates.

The hackers claim they acted in objection to the site's business practices.

Ashley Madison - whose tagline is 'life is short, have an affair' - offers a "paid delete" option that allows people to pay to remove all their information, but hackers say the site does not actually delete the data.

Toronto police today said at least two people may have committed suicide following the release of Ashley Madison data, while also warning of scams and extortion attempts on those desperate to avoid being exposed.

Avid Life Media is offering a C$500,000 (A$524,619) reward to catch the hackers.

Last week the first class action lawsuits to arise from the breach were filed, with two Canadian lawyers seeking A$805 million in damages on behalf of affected clients.

Today a man identifying himself as John Doe filed a lawsuit in a district court in the United States seeking class-action status and damages for an alleged failure by Avid Life Media to adequately protect customer information.

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