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Privacy Law & Internet Using Facebook as a Case Study

Privacy Law and the Internet using as a Case Study

On April 25, 1995, following the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, an unidentified person posted on AOL’s “Michigan Military Movement” bulletin board an advertisement for “Naughty Oklahoma T-Shirts” which listed the notice to be from Ken ZZ03, giving Kenneth Zeran of Seattle’s telephone number. The listing was a hoax designed to generate outrage at the supposed seller. When Zeran found out about the posting, he notified AOL by telephone and letter requesting that the posting be deleted and that there be a notice on the bulletin board saying that the post was a sham. The posting remained, however, or was reposted with slightly different screen names, but always using Zeran’s phone number, for the following week. Because AOL failed to delete the posting in a swift manner and because it failed to prevent reposting through blocking the user’s ISP, Zeran’s phone line was tied up with harassing phone calls and death threats. He suffered further humiliation when a radio broadcast in Oklahoma City attributed him to the posting on May 1, 1995. At this point, Zeran’s house was placed under protective surveillance, and he was unable to use his telephone, as the threatening calls were coming in approximately every two minutes. This continued until at least May 15, by which time the number of calls reduced to only approximately 15 per day.

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