08/24/2015 11:05 EDT | Updated 08/24/2016 05:59 EDT

Ashley Madison Hack Prompts Privacy Czar Probe, $500K Reward

OTTAWA — The federal privacy commissioner is opening an investigation into the Ashley Madison data breach.

Meanwhile, the company behind the adultery website is offering a $500,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a group that hacked the site. Toronto Police announced the reward Monday at a news conference.

Hackers last week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website, one month after a break-in at Ashley Madison's parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media Inc. The website, whose slogan is, "Life is short. Have an affair,'' is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

The hackers who took credit for the break-in have accused the website's owners of deceit and incompetence and said the company refused to bow to their demands to close the site.

Avid Life Media, the parent company of several websites including, is based in Canada.

Given the global scope of the incident, the privacy commissioner will be investigating jointly with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and in co-operation with other international counterparts.

The commissioner's office has been talking with the company to determine how the breach occurred and what is being done about it.

Due to the confidentiality provisions of Canada's private-sector privacy law, the office is not providing further details.

— With files from Rob Gillies, The Associated Press

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