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Class 06




To what extent are you / can you be anonymous on the internet? What are the benefits and/or costs of anonymity on the internet? Should we regulate the collection and use of private information? Can we rely upon the market or industry self-regulation? How about self-help?

A.  Anonymity


  1. Go to and, from the upper left-hand corner pulldown menu, choose "What data am I revealing now?" Or check out, Privacy Analysis of your Internet Connection.

  2. American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia v. Miller, 977 F. Supp. 1228 (N.D. Ga. 1997)

  3. Kaitlin Quistgaard, Caveat Poster: Online Anonymity Is Under Siege By a Barrage of Court Orders -- And No One Is Fighting Them, Salon (April 20, 1999).

  4. Bruce D. Fischman, Protecting the Value of Your Goodwill from Online Assault (March 2000).


  1. Jessup-Morgan v. America Online, Inc., 20 F. Supp. 2d 1105 (E.D. Mich. 1998)

  2. Aaron Elstein, AOL Sides with Anonymous Posters, ZDNet News, March 5, 2001

  3. Press Release, John Doe Fights Back by Suing Yahoo! for Privacy Infringement (May 11, 2000).

B.  Collection of Information


  1. In the Matter of DoubleClick Inc., Before the FTC (Feb. 10, 2000); Stephanie Olsen, FTC Drops Probe Into DoubleClick Privacy Practices

  2. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, Safe Harbor Privacy Principles and Safe Harbor Enforcement Overview (July 21, 2000).

  3. Federal Trade Commission, Self-Regulation and Privacy Online: A Report to Congress (July 1999).

  4. Jerry Kang, Information Privacy in Cyberspace Transactions, 50 Stan. L. Rev. 1193 (1998).

  5. Visit the following sites:

    1. Browse the TRUSTe website.
    2. Explore the EPIC Privacy Tools Web page. General Privacy Page
    3. Explore the FTC's "About Privacy" Web page.
    4. Explore the P3P Web site.


  1. Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data [read arts. 1-18, 25-26 of directive; skim "whereas" recitals].

  2. U.S. Dep't of Commerce, National Telecommunications & Information Administration, Privacy and Self-Regulation in the Electronic Age (June 1997).

  3. Sara Robinson, CD Software Is Said to Monitor Users' Listening Habits, N.Y. Times (Nov. 1, 1999); Sara Robinson, Real Networks to Stop Collecting User Data, NY Times (Nov. 2, 1999)


You are general counsel for a company that sells products over the internet. As part of your business, you collect significant amounts of data regarding your customers, including names, addresses, contact information, purchases, credit card information, etc. Although your company does not currently sell lists of customer information to third parties for marketing purposes, it may well do so in the future in order to generate additional revenue. One of the company's executives has asked you to draft a short memo outlining a privacy policy for the company and what specific steps should be taken to make sure that the company is in compliance with all applicable laws and industry practices. Draft that memo.

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Updated: April 16, 2002
Maintained: Joseph P. Liu
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