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Things Aren't Looking Positive For PositiveSingles STD Dating Site

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The operator of a dating site for people with sexually transmitted diseases is facing a $16.5m pay out after losing a privacy case.

The site in question in PositiveSingles, a dating service for singles around the world with herpes, HPV, HIV / AIDS, hepatitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and other STDs. Back in 2011, an unnamed claimant sued the parent company, SuccessfulMatch, as part of a class action case.

SuccessfulMatch offers an affiliate scheme for new dating services as well as running a number of niche dating sites of its own. It offers both software and databases that contain the details of "hundreds of thousands of profiles" registered to its existing services – and therein lies the problem.

In the 2011 lawsuit, the owner of PositiveSingles was accused of sharing pictures and profile information from the site with other dating services, despite promising privacy and confidentiality. It was revealed that PositiveSingles is one of more than a thousand different websites that all funnel members' personal information into a single database that does, in fact, share that information with third parties.

The plaintiff acknowledged that upon completion of the registration page, members' are given a link to the Terms of Service which state that profile details – including details about HIV and other STD statuses - may be shared with other sites in the SuccessfulMatch network. By posting a profile, he said, users agree to those terms.

But he also acknowledged that few users ever read the Terms of Service, because...well...who does?

A jury found PositiveSingles guilty of breaking local consumer laws, fraud, malice and oppression. The company is now faced with paying approximately $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages. In a hearing on October 29, 2014, the court indicated that it will issue an injunction prohibiting the illegal conduct and declared that three provisions of the Terms of Service are unconscionable.

This story follows a previous lawsuit filed by two women who attempted to sue SuccessfulMatch on similar grounds earlier in the year. A judge dismissed their claims in April after, saying they had failed to specifically allege they had actually read the Terms of Service they claimed were misleading. Despite the judge's dismissal, the women filed an amended claim and the case is still active.