AIM (software) | privacy

Privacy

For privacy regulations, AIM had strict age restrictions. AIM accounts are available only for people over the age of 13; children younger than that were not permitted access to AIM.[24]

Under the AIM Privacy Policy, AOL had no rights to read or monitor any private communications between users. The profile of the user had no privacy.[24]

If public content was accessed, it could be used for online, print or broadcast advertising, etc. This was outlined in the policy and terms of service: "... 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". This allowed anything users posted to be used without a separate request for permission.[24]

The issue of AIM's security was called into question. AOL stated that it had taken great steps to insure that personal information will not be accessed by unauthorized members, but that it cannot guarantee that that will not happen.[24]

AIM was different from other clients, such as Yahoo! Messenger, in that it did not require approval from users to be added to other users' buddy lists. As a result, it was possible for users to keep other unsuspecting users on their buddy list to see when they were online, read their status and away messages, and read their profiles. There was also a Web API to display one's status and away message as a widget on one's webpage.[25] Though one could block a user from communicating with them and seeing their status, this did not prevent that user from creating a new account that would not automatically be blocked and therefore able to track their status. A more conservative privacy option was to select a menu feature that only allowed communication with users on one's buddy list; however, this option also created the side-effect of blocking all users who were not on one's buddy list.

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