AOL Eavesdrops, Grants Itself Permission To Steal Your AIM C...


Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,681
1,184
New Zealand
Does anyone know whether this applies to iChat? It hasn't presented any new terms of service to me, but then again I might've chosen something saying I automatically agree by signing in.
 

varmit

macrumors 68000
Aug 5, 2003
1,830
0
Nermal said:
Does anyone know whether this applies to iChat? It hasn't presented any new terms of service to me, but then again I might've chosen something saying I automatically agree by signing in.
Anything that passes on the AIM servers they can do what they wish. So it means any chat client is affected and they don't need to notify you what so ever.
 

jlewis2k1

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2005
720
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in your closet
well if i assume this correctly, if you are logging onto one of aol's servers to use the aim service then this will apply regardless of the application you use. its all server side logging so you are basically screwed either way. but would this be basically a violation of your privacy?
 

Daveway

macrumors 68040
Jul 10, 2004
3,375
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New Orleans / Lafayette, La
I really don't use AOL for important convos, but this is REALLY bad. I would warn everyone.

BTW: when I signed onto AOL these provisions were not in the EULA. Do that give them the right to look at my messages?
 

clayj

macrumors 604
Jan 14, 2005
7,473
180
visiting from downstream
daveway00 said:
I really don't use AOL for important convos, but this is REALLY bad. I would warn everyone.

BTW: when I signed onto AOL these provisions were not in the EULA. Do that give them the right to look at my messages?
In case you hadn't noticed, pretty much ALL EULAs (AOL's, Microsoft's, Apple's, whoever) contain wording that allows them to change the terms of the EULA at any time, for any reason, and with no warning. THAT'S why I never read them... why memorize terms of use if they're infinitely malleable at the whim of the publisher?

Just to be clear, though: As much as I would like to assign nefarious intent to this revelation from AOL, my first guess would be that they are trying to (1) cover their ass in case anyone sues them over a leaked conversation and (2) appease the government, who no doubt have asked AOL to monitor conversations for such hotwords as might be used by terrorists. The mere fact that they've included this condition in their EULA pretty much gets them off the hook if they're ever sued.
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
"You waive any right to privacy." License agreements are often pretty scary, but this something else!

So "AOL owns all right, title and interest" to anything "derived" from content you send through AIM, or "incorporating" your content. Including not just your conversations, I assume, but also your transmitted files, images, applications, avatars, etc.?

Not only can they spy on you without needing a reason or court permission, they also OWN your work, your thoughts, and your creations. As long as they "incorporate" them into something of AOL's creation.

And they can OR any other company they wish to share it with can do what they LIKE with it, anywhere, forever: "you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium."

And they don't have to tell you, or ask your permission, and certainly not pay you. "You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses."

Best of all they don't even have to tell you that you AGREE to the above... :)

AND AIM@Work has the same terms... businesses PAY AOL so that AOL can read and use their private business communications!

I certainly won't be using iChat for anything but the most trivial of purposes. At least not until Tiger, when iChat supports services beyond AIM. I hope that works well.

(Wouldn't it be great if a significant number of people woke up and ditched AOL at last? Nah... that'd never happen!)
 

Nermal

Moderator
Staff member
Dec 7, 2002
18,681
1,184
New Zealand
varmit said:
Anything that passes on the AIM servers they can do what they wish. So it means any chat client is affected and they don't need to notify you what so ever.
I see that the .Mac terms and conditions haven't changed for 2 years. I'm not sure that I've ever 'signed' an AIM or AOL agreement (I use a mac.com AIM address), so does AOL even have the right to snoop around without telling me?
 

redAPPLE

macrumors 68030
May 7, 2002
2,614
2
2 Much Infinite Loops
i am shocked. actually, i do not know, what to say about this. do they mean, if i send a picture through iChat, AOL can extract this picture and use it?

what about iSight conversations?
 

narco

macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2003
1,155
0
California.
redAPPLE said:
i am shocked. actually, i do not know, what to say about this. do they mean, if i send a picture through iChat, AOL can extract this picture and use it?

what about iSight conversations?
Man, iSight conversations would be scary! So basically, they can watch the video any time they want -- and you know like, 50% of the people who own webcams use them for nudity.

What I'm worried about is the conversations. I discuss a lot of potential art projects with people via-iChat, but if I understand this correctly, they can take the ideas, sell them to studios and make money off my/someone else's idea. If that's correct, it totally blows.

Hopefully the bad PR will make AOL change their mind. I know a lot of people are sending links to this article like crazy.

Fishes,
narco.
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
No big deal. The cellphone companies keep recorded phone messages plus all phonebook and data/photo entries in a large database. AOL has been keeping a record for years, they are just now telling you they are waiving your privacy.
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
1
narco said:
If that's correct, it totally blows.
Hopefully the bad PR will make AOL change their mind. I know a lot of people are sending links to this article like crazy.
Fishes,
narco.
People who have no shame seldom, if ever, change their mind, only their clothes. In the last 4+ times I've tried to contact and talk to a real live person with AOL, I've felt like I was talking to India On Line, or anything(one) other than "america"(n). We're definately canceling, but don't want to waste more time and US$ on international phone calls to do it; so, we're waiting 'til we're Stateside and able to waste a day on the phone, writing and sending whatever it takes. They've also assumed arbitrary authority to charge unsolicited fees (Advantage Traveler@US$79) and add those charges to credit cards. It's out of control and needs to be halted, post haste.
X
 

winwintoo

macrumors 6502
Nov 26, 2003
291
0
If I was AOL, I would have done this in a heartbeat as soon as Apple won the right to see the names of the btards that leaked whatever it was.

AOL is just covering it's a$$ and probably every other hosting service is doing the same, most of them just aren't bothering to tell you about it.

m
 

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,551
1,186
varmit said:
They don't read person to person, but they do when its a public forum like a chat room.
Nonetheless, the agreement says they have the right to your private data too, not just that which is shared in chat rooms. Whatever their "spokesman" may say they actually make a habit of... the wording is what's legal, and the wording doesn't specify chat rooms.

Perhaps some lawyer made just such a simple omission? If so, the terms should be updated to fix it.
 

slooksterPSV

macrumors 68040
Apr 17, 2004
3,256
117
Nowheresville
winwintoo said:
If I was AOL, I would have done this in a heartbeat as soon as Apple won the right to see the names of the btards that leaked whatever it was.

AOL is just covering it's a$$ and probably every other hosting service is doing the same, most of them just aren't bothering to tell you about it.

m
I think I'll have to read through MSN Messenger's TOS and see what that has to say. I never use AIM anyways.
 

bigandy

macrumors G3
Apr 30, 2004
8,855
0
Murka
why are you getting so upset when the goverment can already LEGALLY monitor all communication in the US?

link

talk about a violation of human rights. bye bye privacy.

although AOL cant really seem to get ANYTHING right, can they?