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more on EFF: AOL Censors Email Tax Opponents
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 05:59:05 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Jim Warren <jwarren () well com>
Date: April 13, 2006 11:11:22 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Cc: press () eff org, danny () eff org
Subject: Re: [IP] EFF: AOL Censors Email Tax Opponents

A very timely notice, Dave and EFF. I've been meaning to write about a related incident:

Earlier this week, I sent email to an old friend, Bob Albrecht (long long ago, he edited People's Computer Company newspaper; I edited Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics & Orthdontia in the adjacent office).

I sent my message from my multi-decade eaddr, at the ["world famous"] WELL -- Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link.

The next day, some hours AFTER I had received his response -- i.e., he had obviously received my message -- I received a very apologetic message from the WELL's Helpdesk, saying that AOL had notified them that Bob had identified me as a spammer and that AOL was therefore blocking ALL email from the WELL (that had existed long before AOL was even a daydream in some hustler's mind) ... and requesting that I not send anything else to Bob at that address.

I relayed a query to Bob about this, through a mutual friend (Dennis Allison), who used a different AOL addr for Bob. Bob quickly responded to both of us, saying that he was happy to hear from me and did NOT report me to AOL as a spammer.

However, I had ALSO sent email to another old friend whom I hadn't seen in years -- another AOL victim -- in which I casually (and, I thought, privately) commented:

"Hope this get to you; I'm not-at-all sure about the eaddr -- 'specially given that it's with AOfuL <grin>."

Seems like my label was more on-point than even I had dreamed.

Isn't it about time that we had common-carrier status for email -- as HAS been the mandate for the telephone cartel? (Otherwise -- like AOL -- it could block all phone calls that it could identify as being critical of it.)

Jim Warren; jwarren () well com, public-policy advocate & technology writer

Aside for computer antiquitarians: DDJ was the first periodical devoted to microcomputer software -- back before the phrase, "personal computing" was even invented. The "Dobb's" in that old Journal's name is a contraction of "Dennis" and "Bob", mentioned above, who created the publication, and hired me as its founding Editor.

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