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E-Marketing Performance Blog

AOL Changes TOS to Invade Privacy?

EWeek.com has run an interesting story on AOL and some recent changes to their Terms of Service for the instant messenger users [Sorry, link no longer available.] .

“Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content.

“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,”

This has led many to believe that any private instant messenger communications can therefore be made public at AOL’s discretion . Since these questions have arisen AOL has responded but not to the satisfaction of many of those concerned. AOL basically states that private instant messenger communications are exempt, though this is not specifically mentioned in the TOS.

AOL probably has no, and never had, intentions to allow instant message be made public, but until this is sufficiently clarified in the TOS I think precautions are in order.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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