Ashley Madison leak: Site that let users check email addresses removed after copyright claim

212,000 people visited the site in the short time it was operating

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The Independent Tech

CheckAshleyMadison.com, a website that allowed users to check whether an email address was registered with affair site Ashley Madison, has been taken down following an apparent copyright claim from Ashley Madison's legal team.

The site sprung up within hours of the huge leak of the private information of 32 million users on 19 August.

Users of the site could simply enter an email address or phone number into a box, and have the site check the details against the database of leaked information.

The site would then instantly confirm whether or not the email address was included in the huge data dump.

However, the site's functionality has now been removed, and has been replaced with a message that claims the founders of the site were hit with legal threats over alleged copyright breaches.

The message says: "During the creation of this site, we made it clear that we wanted to give Ashley Madison's users the ability to check if their accounts have been compromised due to the seemingly faulty, and thoughtless work done by Ashley Madison's development team."

"We have given several users who have contacted us information about the leak, and we tried out best to help them understand the situation."

"In every single case, we have removed information from our server on request by the user."

They added: "Ashley's Madison's legal team has served us with a DMCA takedown request forcing us to shut down this service."

"We hope that Avid Life Media [the company that owns Ashley Madison] will follow up in the coming days with some sort of help to their userbase and a formal apology."

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Ashley Madison's International Affairs Director Christoph Kraemer speaks during a press conference in Seoul, after South Korea legalised adultery in February (AFP/.Getty)

Speaking to The Independent, one of the site's creators, who did not want to be named, said: "Between 9am and midnight last night we received 212,000 unique visitors and 247,000 total page views. We had to up our server size multiple times, and still we weren't able to handle all the traffic."

"Our site actually became more popular after the DMCA takedown. Even at 5am with no real content on our site we have 700 users on the site right now."

They added: "While initially we had concerns that perhaps we were making it too easy for spouses to check on their significant others, we now feel comfortable that the little light we cold shine on the situation was a net positive for those affected."

"After witnessing lists of university professors, American armed service members, and others be published in raw text, sometimes accompanying very specific location data, we feel that on balance, the tool we provided for those who are being exposes helped rather than hurt."

In another copyright claim linked to the leak, Avid Life Media said that the company owns all the intellectual property in the data.

They added that since the data was stolen by hackers and posted without their permission, it represents a copyright breach.

The final part of the statement on the remnant of CheckAshleyMadison.com reads: "We also hope that all of you affected by the leak will be able to find some sort of comfort in the near future."

The Independent has contacted Avid Life Media for comment.

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