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EFF: AOL Censors Email Tax Opponents
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2006 18:48:37 -0400



Begin forwarded message:

From: EFF Press <press () eff org>
Date: April 13, 2006 5:13:58 PM EDT
To: presslist () eff org
Subject: [E-B] EFF: AOL Censors Email Tax Opponents
Reply-To: press () eff org

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 13, 2006

Contact:

Danny O'Brien
   Activism Coordinator
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   danny () eff org
   415.436.9333

Rebecca Jeschke
   Media Coordinator
   Electronic Frontier Foundation
   press () eff org
   +1 415 436-9333 x125

AOL Censors Email Tax Opponents

Won’t Deliver Emails Mentioning www.DearAOL.com

San Francisco - AOL is blocking delivery to AOL customers
of all emails that include a link to www.DearAOL.com.
Today, over 100 people who signed a petition to AOL tried
sending messages to their AOL-using friends, and received a
bounce-back message informing them that their email "failed
permanently."

"The fact is, ISPs like AOL commonly make these kinds of
arbitrary decisions -- silently banning huge swathes of
legitimate mail on the flimsiest of reasons - every day,
and no-one hears about it," said Danny O'Brien, of the
Electronic Frontier Foundation, "AOL's planned
CertifiedEmail system would let them profit from this power
by offering to charge legitimate mailers to bypass these
malfunctioning filters."

After reports of undelivered email started rolling in to
the DearAOL.com Coalition, MoveOn co-founder Wes Boyd
decided to see for himself if it was true.

"I tried to email my brother-in-law about DearAOL.com and
AOL sent me a response as if he had disappeared," said
Boyd. "But when I sent him an email without the DearAOL.com
link, it went right through."

While AOL may imply that censoring www.DearAOL.com is part
of some anti-spam effort, their own customers are
witnessing how faulty AOL's spam measures would be if that
was the case.

"I forwarded www.DearAOL.com to my own AOL account and it
was censored.  Apparently I can't even tell myself about
it," said Kelly Tessitore from Framingham, Massachusetts.

"This proves the DearAOL.com Coalition's point entirely:
Left to their own devices, AOL will always put its own self
interest ahead of the public interest in a free and open
Internet," said Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free
Press, a national, nonpartisan organization working on
media reform and Internet policy issues. "AOL wants us to
believe they won't hurt free email when their pay-to-send
system is up and running. But if AOL is willing to censor
the flow of information now to silence their critics, how
could anyone trust that they will preserve the free and
open Internet down the road? Their days of saying 'trust
us' are over – their credibility is zero, zip, nada."

The DearAOL.com Coalition represents over 15 million people
combined – and has grown from 50 member organizations to
600 in a month. Since the beginning of the DearAOL.com
campaign, more than 350,000 Internet users have signed
letters to AOL opposing its pay to send proposal. Coalition
members include craigslist founder Craig Newmark, the
Association of Cancer Online Resources, EFF, Free Press,
the AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org Civic Action, Gun Owners of
America, and others.

For more on the issues surrounding pay-to-send email, join
EFF for a debate on April 20 in San Francisco.  EFF's
O'Brien and tech expert Esther Dyson will face off over the
question "Email - Should the Sender Pay?"  Entrepreneur
Mitch Kaptor will moderate.

More information about the DearAOL.com Coalition:
http://www.dearaol.com/

More information on next week's debate:
http://www.eff.org/bayff/aolmail_debate.php

For this release:
http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_04.php#004556

About EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to
websites in the world at http://www.eff.org/


     -end-

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