While we were all talking about the privacy of Plaxo, AOL recently just stole some of our privacy. AOL just updated its Terms of Service (TOS) for its popular instant messenger AIM. Now anything that you type through AIM is now free game for AOL to use. They can use it at will, without informing the user. Here’s an excerpt:
“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. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, 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.”
I’ve never liked AIM. I switched to ICQ (before AOL bought it) and told everyone they could contact me via it. It was the loneliest week ever. I’m severely not happy with this practice. If you ask me what the best IM service that currently exists, I would say MSN. Yeah… Microsoft. Oh well, it’s not like you mindless drones care. Keep on typing, AOL is watching.