Why You Shouldn’t Download the Ashley Madison Database

August 21, 2015 – In The News
USA Today

Scott L. Vernick was quoted in the USA Today article, “Why You Shouldn't Download the Ashley Madison Database.” Full text can be found in the August 21, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

While you may find your curiosity piqued and be tempted to download the Ashley Madison database that has been leaked, there are two reasons not to: it could be dangerous and it’s stolen property.

Legally, the entire database belongs to Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media, and downloading it is the same as downloading a pirated movie from a legal perspective. It’s stolen property, said Scott Vernick, a noted privacy attorney.

“Just because this information is available on the Internet doesn't mean it's open season and you can just go and get it without impunity,” Vernick said.

While Vernick admits it’s unlikely the police would go after everyone who downloads the files, he cautions that it is still stolen property and should be treated as such.

“You'd be guilty of some kind of copyright violation, for which there are civil penalties,” he said.

Not to mention, if anyone tries to use the stolen information for extortion, blackmail or to achieve a commercial advantage, “you’re breaking the law,” Vernick said.

Click here to view the full article.