The Proofreader blog has suggested supposed Vatican email addresses were in fact based in Canada and Virginia

After initial reports that people working at the Vatican were among the 37 million users of infidelity website Ashley Madison, a blogger has claimed this is not in fact the case.

More than 200 people with a .va email address are among those who signed up to meet married people for liaisons. However, since the reports appeared, blogger David Taylor has cast doubt on whether these Ashley Madison users were in fact working at the Vatican.

In his blogpost Proofreader Taylor writes: “One of the characterisations of the data that has been bandied about is the fact that there were numerous e-mail addresses from the Vatican; and indeed, there were 3 from and 219 with the .va suffix (as a nation, the Vatican gets its own two-letter top level domain).

“However, even a casual perusal of these latter addresses reveals that something isn’t right. Does the Vatican have schools named after cities in Virginia or ISPs with the same names as those in Canada?

“The answer is simple: There are plenty of addresses in Virginia that end in or, and the people who signed up left off the end (Ashley Madison never verified e-mails, so people didn’t have to use a real one). And then because C and V are next to each other on the keyboard, some fat-fingered Canadians (a demographic to whuch I belong) simply hit the wrong key.”

Taylor goes on to say that of the 219 .va addresses he examined 72 originated from Canada, 77 from Virginia, 24 from California, 55 were unknown and one was fake.

He concludes: “Disclaimer: I was brought up Catholic, but I totally rebelled, so I don’t have a vested interest in protecting the Vatican from scandal, quite the opposite. I just believe in accurate reporting.”

Ashley Madison works on the promise of anonymity and the motto “Life is short. Have an affair”. The hackers from the “Impact Team” carried it out because they said that the people are “cheating dirtbags”.

The Ashley Madison website has called it “an act of criminality” and the FBI is now investigating the hack.