SNP MP denies Ashley Madison adultery site use

SNP MP Michelle Thomson has said computer hackers are to blame for the presence of an email address among a list of users of the extramarital dating website Ashley Madison. Picture: TSPL
SNP MP Michelle Thomson has said computer hackers are to blame for the presence of an email address among a list of users of the extramarital dating website Ashley Madison. Picture: TSPL
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SNP MP Michelle Thomson claimed she was the victim of computer hackers after an email address belonging to her was linked to a website facilitating extramarital affairs.

An email account set up by Ms Thomson before the General Election was one of millions released after a data hack on the Ashley Madison website.

Ashley Madison: Data leak. Picture: Getty Images

Ashley Madison: Data leak. Picture: Getty Images

Ashley Madison has become notorious through its claim to be the internet’s leading adultery website, boasting of having nearly 39 million members and claiming that “thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands sign up every day looking for an affair”.

There are estimated to be 1.2 million UK users of the website owned by the Toronto-based company Avid Life Media.

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Hackers, working under the name Impact Team, have managed to break into its database and have published the names, ages, addresses, phone numbers, credit card details and sexual fantasies of people found on the Ashley Madison database.

Anyone’s email address could have been used

Michelle Thomson

In a statement Ms Thomson, a married mother of two grown-up children, said she no longer used the email address.

She said: “Along with potentially millions of others, an out-of-use email address seems to have been harvested by hackers. I am not aware of or in contact with either Avid Life or Ashley Madison and look forward to finding out more about what has actually happened. However, having a personal email address linked to an account doesn’t mean that person is really a user of Ashley Madison. Users are able to sign up to the site without responding to an email verification, meaning anyone’s email address could have been used to create an account.”

Ms Thomson is one of the intake of 56 new SNP MPs who won seats in this year’s General Election. Representing Edinburgh West, she is a party spokeswoman on business, innovation and skills.

She is an IT expert having completed a MSc on the subject and having worked in financial services over 23 years in a number of roles dealing with computers.

Latterly she set up her own small business in property. During the referendum she had a high-profile campaign role as the managing director of Business for Scotland.

Reports suggest that the hackers have posted the information it has acquired on the Dark Web, a part of the internet which cannot be accessed with the usual search engines like Google.

Avid Life Media (ALM), which also runs dating sites Cougar Life and Established Men as well as Ashley Madison, said it is investigating the latest claims “to determine the validity of any information posted online”.

In a statement ALM said: “We will continue to put forth substantial efforts into removing information unlawfully released to the public, as well as continuing to operate our business.”