GREENBELT, Md. (CN) – A Maryland man hacked into the Ground Zero Museum Web site, deleted it and left a link that redirects Web surfers to a page that criticizes the museum, its founder Gary Suson claims in Maryland Federal Court. The museum on West 14th Street in Manhattan showcases artifacts from Ground Zero of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Suson says William Wilson, of Gaithersburg, dba Cart Designs, collaborated with him to design the museum’s shopping cart page and revamp its gift shop page. But Suson says that after an argument over message board fodder on TripAdvisor.com, Wilson used his access codes to wipe out the site.
Suson says that cost him lost ticket sales, gift shop sales, and decreased rankings in search engines. He claims Wilson also sent an email to the museum’s web host, A-1 Hosting Services, questioning the museum’s nonprofit status, prompting the company to cut off its donation of server space that hosts the Web site.
Suson claims that Wilson restored the site after being contacted by law enforcement, but refused to restore the shopping cart and gift shop pages, which he said belonged to him. He claims Wilson also removed meta-tags from the site so search engines would not recognize it, and uploaded malicious files that would have allowed an attack on the servers.
Suson says Wilson also put a redirect link where the museum’s gift shop had been, taking users to a Web site that is “a collection of false and malicious statements about Suson.” He says Wilson sent harassing and defamatory emails accusing him of gambling with museum donations.
Suson and the Ground Zero Museum seek and injunction and punitive damages for defamation, conversion and copyright infringement. Suson is represented by Elizabeth Pugliese, of Germantown, Md.