Christopher Wolf
Member of the Firm
Direct Dial 202.416.6818

Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security — Nomination P004807


January 5, 2000

Federal Trade Commission
Room H-158
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This letter serves as my self-nomination for appointment to the Advisory Committee on Online Access and Security.

I am a partner in the law firm of Proskauer Rose LLP, and co-chair the Internet practice group. By way of introduction, my biography, as contained on my law firm’s Web Site, is attached.

I have broad and diverse experience in the issue of online privacy. I was lead counsel in the federal case establishing an exclusionary rule for improperly obtained online personal data, McVeigh v. Cohen, (DDC 1998). (In that case, the U.S. Navy improperly obtained electronically-transmitted personal data from America Online, on the basis of which it sought to discharge a servicemember under the "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue" policy. We obtained an injunction against the Navy, and an award of fees and costs.) That case frequently is cited as a leading case in establishing online privacy rights.

In addition to vindicating the online privacy rights of individuals, I have counseled numerous corporations with respect to their online and Web Site privacy policies. While client confidentiality prevents me from disclosing the details of those representations, I can disclose that the clients included prominent e-commerce firms, including a prominent online advertising company, financial institutions and entertainment companies.

I also have advised my clients on and have become conversant with the online privacy initiatives of other jurisdictions, especially the European Union. In that connection, I was a panelist at the Coalition of Service Industries program on the European Union Directive on Data Protection.

Another aspect of my law practice which is relevant is in the area of "cybersmearing" — the anonymous libeling of persons or corporations. On behalf of clients, I have experienced the difficulties present by online anonymity (and the protection of that anonymity) in the vindication of legal rights of those who have been libeled.

As President of Hands Off the Internet (, a public policy advocacy coalition, I have special expertise with respect to the burdens of government regulation of the Internet. At the same time, I am a strong proponent of the appropriate application of existing laws to, e.g., intellectual property theft and misuse.

In addition, as National Chair of the Internet Law Committee of the Anti-Defamation League, I regularly deal with the issue of hate on the Internet, and the attendant privacy questions involved.

Thus, my interest in and experience with online privacy is multi-faceted, and I would hope to provide unique perspectives to the Advisory Committee. While I understand the needs of corporations doing business online, I also am sensitive to individual privacy interests. At the same time, I believe in minimal government regulation. I have what I believe is a balanced approach to the issue of online access and security.

I would welcome the opportunity to serve, and thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely yours,

Christopher Wolf