1. Timothy R. McVeigh (no relation to the Oklahoma City bomber) was a highly decorated, 17-year veteran of the U. S. Navy. McVeigh was a gay male who, while using an alias, sent an e-mail message to a civilian navy volunteer through AOL. The volunteer searched through AOL’s member profile directory and learned some information about the sender; eventually this information and McVeigh’s identity found their way to senior officials in the navy. McVeigh was then found to be in violation of the military’s policy of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” an offense that warrants discharge for homosexuality. McVeigh brought suit, attempting to prevent the military from ordering his discharge. Will McVeigh be allowed to offer as an argument that his e-mail to the volunteer cannot be used against him due to his right to privacy?
2. Michael A. Smith was a regional operations manager for the Pillsbury Company. In this capacity, he regularly used the company’s e-mail server. The company regularly assured its employees that all e-mail communications would remain confidential and privileged. While at home, Smith then exchanged e-mail messages with his supervisor. Pillsbury read these e-mail messages, claimed that they were inappropriate and unprofessional, and terminated Smith’s employment. Smith brought a lawsuit for wrongful termination, and Pillsbury requested that it be dismissed. Will the court allow Smith’s lawsuit to proceed, or will the case be dismissed?
3. Robert Tappan Morris released onto the Internet a worm that spread and multiplied. The worm found its way into computers at several educational and military sites, causing these computers to crash. Morris was charged with violating section 2(d) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986. Morris was able to prove during a jury trial that, while in fact he had released the worm, he did not do so intentionally. Nonetheless, Morris was found guilty of violating the law. He appealed his conviction on the grounds that his access to these an educational and military computer was not without authorization since Morris did not intend to access them. Will Morris be successful in his appeal of the guilty verdict?
4. Rumorville, a daily online newspaper, was part of a journalism forum on the Internet published by Fitzpatrick. Subscribers to CompuServe, an Internet service provider, had access to Rumorville. Skuttlebut was a service that distributed news and gossip about journalism. Rumorville published items about Skuttlebut that were alleged to be defamatory and untrue. Skuttlebut sued CompuServe, arguing that this Internet service provider was liable for the defamatory statements carried by the service. Will Skuttlebut be successful in a suit against CompuServe?