Big Brother and your browser - 2003-03-03
What appears to be the first case of this sort arose in 1996, when the Cult Awareness Network -- which warned of the dangers of unconventional religions -- was sued into oblivion by the Church of Scientology. A bankruptcy court judge placed the group's assets including cultawarenessnetwork.org up for auction -- and the winning bidder was -- you guessed it -- Scientology.
Mark Rasch, a former federal prosecutor who's a vice president at Solutionary in McLean, Va., represented Cult Awareness Network during its demise. After Scientology gained control of cultawarenessnetwork.org and promptly began reading e-mail sent to the old addresses, Rasch told me on Friday, "people thought they were communicating confidentially with an anti-cult group when they were talking with their enemies."