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Culture

Scandal grows over fake Craigslist sex ad

Girl wants to meet boy. Girl posts on Craigslist for a "casual encounter." Hundreds of boys respond.

This normally wouldn't be an unanticipated outcome, but what if the girl wasn't really a girl? And what if the imposter then took all the names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers sent by the men who responded and posted them all on the Web?

Craigslist

That's precisely what Jason Fortuny did in a "social experiment" that has generated a huge controversy, much of it in the form of a backlash that has included talk of litigation and even death threats. The Seattle Web developer has reportedly removed some of his own online information, which included his home address, phone number and photos (much of which is still available in archived versions of his various posts).

But don't expect Fortuny to shrink from the spotlight--quite the opposite, in fact. According to Waxy.org, "he's planning on setting up a dedicated Web site for his exploits, either on his Rfjason.com site or on the Craigslistsexbaits.com domain."

Blog community response:

"While many of us may have an idle curiosity in the lives of others, especially when they engage in behaviors or face situations that are different than ours, publicly broadcasting their situations without regard to their privacy interests is absolutely inappropriate, and our haste to defend such broadcasting would quickly disappear if we were the subject of the publication."
--The Coffeehouse Soapbox

"Lots of people say this guy is going to get sued or should get sued for publicly posting information. One can argue that there is no expecation of privacy, because you know beforehand that the chance you are actually talking to a real person is far less then 50 percent."
--The Paradigm Shift

"What's most disturbing to me is the number of people that support what this guy did. I read the various blog entries from around the Net and a lot of the comments are coming from people who apparently think just like this guy and believe public humiliation of individuals just because you think you're better than them is perfectly OK and that people who weren't even breaking any laws should have their business posted on the Internet for anyone to see."
--urbanbohemian