PROBLEMS WITH AOL (American Online)
AOL is not a real internet provider. They are a giant network that happens to allow internet access. You are actually a user on their private network. They do all kinds of weird things to the data that passes through them. Also, because their client software is proprietary, they have access to everything on your hard disk.
In other words, the AOL "browser" is not a browser ! It is a proprietary client program that makes your system a node in AOL's "client-server" computer network. They own your system and can look at anything on your hard drive at their leisure.
An alternative suggestion is www.earthlink.com to avoid these difficulties.
We received the email below. We have no idea if it is true or not, although we can't see why someone would make this up. This email is about AOL 4.0. I think they have 7.0 now. I can only imagine what they can do now.
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 1997 00:54:07
To: "72113.1673" <<email@example.com>
Ok folks........ please read all this information....... vital to all of us as you can imagine.... Please pass along........ I have had my hands full as many of you know with our freedom on AOL as you well know..... They don't need this much information ...... Hugs to all, Denice
>I trust Darrell...... believe what U will...
I have had the 4.o version before.
It had too many bugs in it for me so I deleted it out of my system. Then it
was sent to me by a friend and I sent it to one of my friends to check it
out. He told me there was something wrong with 4.0 as it would not config
correctly. He has numorous programs to
>In a message dated 97-10-05 23:31:58 EDT, ONLCKED writes:
> PLEASE SEND THIS OUT IN ONE YOUR UPCOMING LETTERS YOU HAVE THE LARGEST >MAILING LIST THAT I KNOW OF.
> From a former AOL employee:
I'll try and cut through the crap,
and try to get to the point of this letter. I used to work for America Online,
and would like to remain anonymous
for that reason. I was laid off in early September, but I
Since last December, I had been one of the many people assigned to design AOL 4.0 for Windows (AOL 4.0 beta, codenamed Casablanca). In the beginning, I was very proud of this task, until I found out the true cost of it. Things were going fine until about mid-February, when me and 2 of my colleagues started to suspect a problem, an unexplainable 'Privacy Invasion', with the new version.
One of them, who is a master programmer, copied the finished portion of the new version (Then 'Build 52'), and took it home, and we spent nearly 2 weeks of sleepless nights examining and debugging the program, flipping it inside-out, and here is what we found.
Unlike all previous versions of America Online, version 4.0 puts something in your hard drive called a 'cookie'. (AOL members click < HREF=">aol://4344:1047.g334.8411481.532897009">here for a definition).
However, the cookie we found on Version 4.0 was far more treacherous than the simple Internet cookie. How would you like somebody looking at your entire hard drive, snooping through any (yes, any) piece of information on your hard drive. It could also read your password and log in information and store it deep in the program code.
Well, all previous versions, whether you like it or not, have done this to a certain extent, but only with files you downloaded. As me and my colleagues discovered, with the new version, anytime you are signed on to AOL, any top AOL executive, any AOL worker, who has been sworn to secrecy regarding this feature, can go in to your hard drive and retrieve any piece of information that they so desire. Billing, download records, e-mail, directories, personal documents, programs, financial information, scanned images, etc. Better start keeping all those pictures on a floppy disk!
This is a totally disgusting violation of our rights, and your right to know as well. Since this is undoubtedly 'Top Secret' information that I am revealing, my life at AOL is pretty much over. After discovering this information, we started to inform a few other workers at America Online, so that we could get a large enough crew to stop this from happening to the millions of unfortunate and unsuspecting America Online members. This was in early August.
One month later, all three of us were unemployed. We got together, and figured there was something we had to do to let the public know.
Unemployed, with one of us going
through a divorce (me) and another who is about to undergo treatment for Cancer,
our combined financial situation is not currently enough to release any sort
or article. We attempted to create a web page on three different servers containing
in-depth information on AOL 4.0, but all three were taken down within 2 days.
We were running very low on time (4.0 is released early this winter), so we
figured our last hope to reveal thismadness before it effects the people was
starting something similar to a chain letter, this letter you are reading.
Please do the following, to help us expose
AOL for who they really are, and to help us and yourself receive
1. Forward this letter to as many people as you can (not just friends and family, as many as you can)!
2. Tell people who aren't on America Online in person, especially important people (Private Investigators, Government workers, City Council)
3. If the information about the new version isn't exposed by the time AOL is released early this winter, for your own protection, DON'T DOWNLOAD AOL 4.0 UNDER ANY CONDITION !!!
Thank you for reading and examining this information. Me and my colleagues hope that you will help us do the right thing in this situation. Enjoy America Online (just kidding!).
A former AOL employee
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