AOL Officially Says AIM Users Have No Privacy

from the how-nice-of-them dept

While it’s likely that many people already suspected that using AOL’s instant messaging product, AIM, you were opening yourself up to all sorts of privacy breaches, most of those people probably didn’t realize that this was officially condoned and promoted by AOL in their terms of service. Well, to be fair, it’s only in their “new” terms of service for AIM (though, it applies to anyone who downloaded the product in the last year), which states: “You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the content or to be compensated for any such uses.” At least they come right out and say it, rather than hiding it behind legal speak. Update: AOL has responded to the story — but seem to miss the point. All they say is that AOL doesn’t read what you say — even though the TOS say they can. Also, they claim that this isn’t “new” but has been in place since last year (which makes sense, since that’s when the terms apply to). Of course, that doesn’t actually make the TOS any less of an issue. If AOL isn’t violating your privacy, why should they make you give up those rights? Update again: And, now, they’re saying the “you have no privacy” statement only refers to public posts on public forums — which actually does make sense, though seems to be implied from the fact that those forums are “public.” Either way, it’s beginning to sound like this is much ado about nothing.

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Comments on “AOL Officially Says AIM Users Have No Privacy”

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Rob Hyndman (profile) says:


Actually, that’s not what they say. They say the TOS do not waive privacy of anything other than posts – eg, not AIM chat – they fasten on the word “post” in the TOS. Though you may well disagree with that.
See the comments to Steve Rubel’s post – one is from AOL.

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