In July 2015, panic reigned among the extramaritally active when hackers grabbed millions of profiles from Ashley Madison. Some of them are doubtless panicking again today, after a judge ruled that they can’t be anonymous in a class action suit against the cheating website.

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It turned out, of course, that many women on Ashley Madison were, in reality, lonely, horny robots, created by the company to entice in new users. Enticed they were, and then hacked, and now 42 of them would like to sue anonymously as representatives in a class-action lawsuit, the New York Times reports, “to reduce the risk of potentially catastrophic personal and professional consequences that could befall them and their families.”

In response, Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media, pointed out that a number of the plaintiffs are suing them non-anonymously in other venues, and argued that anonymity would make it hard for them to conduct discovery.

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The ruling, from U.S. Eastern District Judge John A. Ross, agreed that anonymity wasn’t necessary here, as it can be in cases involving sexual abuse or other highly sensitive personal information. “Moreover,” he wrote, “the personal and financial information Plaintiffs seek to protect has already been released on the internet and made available to the public.”

Ross ruled that anyone wishing to represent the class-action (the 42 plaintiffs currently suing) have to reveal their names; anyone who simply wants to join the lawsuit as a “class member” can be anonymous.

All things to consider the next time you’re considering leaving an elaborate digital record of your interest in adultery.


Photo via AP