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This ability to source information from disparate resources, add then together an adversely influence corporate reputation is a potential hazard in many ways. In particular in the case of Cyber Stalking. There are cases where cyber stalkers have created sites about employees.

Since February 1997, Bill Sheering has operated a Web site which contains four general types of content: (1) Sheehan's grievances against government officials and private parties, most of them credit reporting agencies and debt collection services; (2) Strongly worded expressions of opinion (e.g., referring to a corporation as "criminally insane," etc); (3) allegations about corporations and persons which were claimed to be defamatory; (4) Information about employees of companies.

After Sheehan filed his lawsuit, he added to the Web site information regarding defendants' outside counsel.
The information about employees includes home addresses; street maps identifying the locations of the addresses; home telephone numbers; fax numbers; social security numbers; photographs of automobiles and their license plates which appear to have been taken in public; and photographs of people which appear to have been taken in public. Sheehan declares that he obtained this information lawfully, from such public information sources as the Washington Secretary of State and other Internet sites.

Sheehan's Web site contains no explicit encouragement for readers to engage in any specific conduct, or to use the information about employees or attorneys in any specific way. Other than the actions of Sheehan himself, the record contains no evidence that any other person has ever contacted any employee or any individual identified in Sheehan's Web site, as a result of viewing the site. (a map taken from Sheehan's site)
Never-the-less, there are details, shown on the Web site and presented in court about a number of employees of a number of companies.

The protection of employees, and in particular employees whose reputation is valuable to the company is a matter of reputation management. The legal case is difficult to follow round the world and so protection is the first line of defence.

There's no question that cults, conspiracy groups, and the lunatic fringe have found homes on the Internet. Nor should this surprise us. The Internet is, if nothing else, an effective medium. Of course fringe groups are going to take advantage of this
technology. How could they not? The key for reputation management is to be aware of the problems and to ensure that all employees are aware and alert to these issues.

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Article Series

This article is part 32 of a 37 part series. Other articles in this series are shown below:
  1. The Internet Influence
  2. Reputation
  3. The Internet Society
  4. How People Use The Internet
  5. The Opinion Formers
  6. A Stakerholder Society
  7. Its Fast
  8. Technology For The People
  9. A Reputation For Responding
  10. Newsgroups, Chat and Cybercast
  11. The Nature of Newsgroups
  12. Chat Overtaking Newsgroups
  13. Cybercasting
  14. The Internet Communities
  15. Neighbourghood Communities
  16. Company Communities
  17. Community Currency
  18. The Effect Of Virutal Communities On The Bottom Line
  19. Political Communities
  20. Cyber Marketers
  21. Global Branding
  22. Accessibility
  23. Cyberbrand Outreach Accessibility
  24. Information
  25. Interactivity
  26. Brand Performance
  27. Online PR
  28. Sponsorship Marketing
  29. Brand Attacks
  30. Cyber Counterfit Sales
  31. Internal Communications
  32. Cyberstalkers
  33. Protection from Cyberstalkers
  34. Investor Relations
  35. Share Scams
  36. Protecting Investors
  37. The Investor Sites
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