Victims of the Ashley Madison hacking scandal from last year have been told by a US judge they can’t sue the parent company of the extramarital affair website anonymously. If they want to proceed, they must reveal who they are…

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Yes, that’s right, the lawsuits have started, and as a result, there’s probably still quite a bit of life left in the story that dominated news headlines last year.

The ‘victims’ are ostensibly suing Ashley Madison for having failed to keep their promise to remove all trace of their private and personal information even after they had paid extra for the “full delete removal” service.

As was reported at the time, Ashley Madison didn’t actually follow through with their promise to fully delete information about its customers, and as a result when their databases were stolen and the information decrypted, most, if not all of their details were still held by the dating company.

This information still included details such as credit card information and address details of users.

The pending lawsuits also cite the fact that Ashley Madison used made-up female accounts in order to give men the false confidence that there were more women than were on the site, according to the Judges ruling.

According to court papers filed, the plaintiffs in the suit filed in Missouri of all places wished to remain anonymous in order “to reduce the risk of potentially catastrophic personal and professional consequences that could befall them and their families.”

This irony was not lost on the judge either, Judge John Ross wrote in his ruling that “the personal and financial information plaintiffs seek to protect has already been released on the internet and made available to the public.”

While it is not considered unusual for plaintiffs in US court cases to be given anonymity in sexual abuse cases, Ashley Madison’s parent company successfully argued that as no actual preference for sexual activity had been released, the plaintiffs had no right to claim for this privileged status.

To date, eight other plaintiffs suing Ashley Madison have done so using their real names.