Wired Strategies Press Pitch

Email Story Pitches January 8, 1998  

 
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t AOL

Pitch 1: Business

Did America Online – with over 50% of the email market -- illegally share confidential information with the US military, getting one of its subscribers fired?  That’s the question millions of AOL subscribers are asking after AOL divulged to the US Navy, in contravention of US law and AOL’s own policies, that Navy enlisted man Timothy R. McVeigh (no relation to the Oklahoma City McVeigh) was the owner of an AOL member profile that military authorities believed belonged to a gay servicemember.  Using AOL’s admission as a key piece of evidence, the military is discharging 17-year veteran McVeigh next week.  Now other AOL subscribers – single women, small children, and anyone else who might not want a stranger tracking them down – are asking, "are we next?"

Pitch 2: General

Has the US military, in its zeal to expel gay servicemembers, engaged in illegal cyber-espionage?  That’s the question millions of America Online subscribers are asking after AOL reportedly divulged confidential subscriber information to the US Navy, costing enlisted man Timothy R. McVeigh (no relation to the Oklahoma City McVeigh) his 17-year job.  The Navy believed McVeigh to be the owner of an AOL "member profile" that looked "gay" – but had no concrete proof that is was his.  So they called AOL, and were told that the profile in question belonged to Timothy R. McVeigh of Hawaii.  The military is discharging McVeigh next week for "sodomy" – the only proof being his AOL profile.  Not only is AOL’s disclosure of McVeigh’s information a clear violation of AOL’s own policies, but Internet civil liberties lawyers are calling it a clear cut violation of federal law.  With AOL controlling over 50% of the email market, the fallout from this case could significantly affect the entire online world.
 
Contact Information:
Timothy R. McVeigh - email < navypress@aol.com >.
Kirk Childress - one of McVeigh's attorneys with the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in Wash DC <202/328-3244>.
Derek Cole - McVeigh's military lawyer in Hawaii <808/474-6014 x303>.
John Aravosis - Internet policy analyst/advocate in Wash DC <202/328-5707>, < www.wiredstrategies.com >,      < john@wiredstrategies.com >, assisting on the case's online privacy angle. 

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