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Announcements / Blog

Private Data Taken by Former Employees


February 19, 2021
For immediate release

Atheist Alliance International (AAI) has had a serious breach of its subscriber data. After subscriber complaints brought email irregularities to our attention, we investigated and found that IAA, an organization formed in February 2020, had used our data to seek donations and market their organization to our subscribers. Atheist Alliance International subscriber data had been taken without authorization by IAA, an organization started by three former associates of AAI, a past president and two interim Co-Executive Directors.

After forming IAA and using an unauthorized copy of Atheist Alliance International subscriber data in an attempt to build a following, the new organization then began a sustained social media campaign accusing AAI of misconduct. These unfounded and wholly baseless claims resulted in damage to the reputation and credibility of AAI, which negatively impacted our ability to raise funds for programs that support atheists at risk around the world.

To address the data theft, Atheist Alliance International President, Howard Burman, wrote to the IAA President on September 14 outlining the evidence and specified the steps we wished IAA to take to remedy the situation and safeguard our member’s information:

  1. IAA must demonstrably destroy all AAI data and put it beyond their use and must certify that none of our data had been passed to a third party.
  2. IAA must accept full responsibility for taking the data and declare that AAI bears no responsibility.

After Atheist Alliance International (AAI) reached out to IAA, their lawyer sent a response which accepted that IAA has our data file in their possession. However, the response also included a six-page Confidential Settlement and Release Agreement, containing terms unacceptable to the best interests of Atheist Alliance International and its subscribers. At this time, IAA has yet to demonstrably destroy all AAI data and put it beyond their use and certify that none of our data had been passed to a third party, as per our request, and they have not shown good faith in dealing with us to resolve this issue.

Atheist Alliance International will act with full force under the law to protect its subscribers’ data if this issue is not solved immediately in accordance with points (1) and (2) above. AAI data is proprietary and cannot legally or ethically be used by third parties. 

AAI pledges commitment to our members to safeguard their data, and encourages a spirit of collaboration to move the cause of atheism forward.

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