Steve Case responded to the AOL 4.0 hoax e-mail in his November 1, 1997 Community Update:

AOL 4.0 Hoax

Many of you have been asking about the hoax AOL 4.0 e-mail now circulating on the Internet. Let me be absolutely clear: None of the allegations are true. Neither our AOL 3.0 nor AOL 4.0 software have any capability which would permit AOL staff to examine private information stored on the hard drives of our members' personal computers.

We have taken several steps to get the word out that this e-mail is false, including submitting this hoax to the U.S. Department of Energy's Computer Incident Advisory Capability Group for its Internet Hoaxes Web page (please see the listing at CIAC Internet Hoaxes).

Please help us spread the word that this e-mail is a hoax!